Simple Guidance on Cleaning, Disinfection, and Hand Hygiene in Schools

Respiratory droplets majorly spread the virus that causes COVID-19. Whenever an infected person coughs or sneezes, droplets that contain the virus are erupted and can be inhaled by someone close to the infected person. However, the virus can't enter the body through the skin. Nonetheless, this medium is not the primary way through which the virus spreads. The goal of this article is to offer guidance for the cleaning, disinfecting and hand hygiene in schools.

Why are Cleaning and Disinfection Necessary?

Coronavirus spreads quickly from an infected person to another person and by touching a contaminated surface or item. Although surface transmission isn't the principal mode of transmission, it's still possible that a person could get infected with COVID-19 by touching a surface or things that are already contaminated with the virus and then touching their own eyes, nose, or mouth with the same hand. Coronavirus can be decreased and eliminated on surfaces, objects, and hands if the right products are used correctly.

Cleaning and disinfecting can lower the risk of spreading infection by decreasing and eliminating germs on surfaces that people usually touch.

Why is Practicing Good Hand Hygiene Important?

Keeping your hands clean regularly is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from getting sick or infected. When Coronavirus comes in contact with your hands and is not properly washed off, it can be transmitted from person to person. Germs from unwashed hands can get into the body through the mouth, nose, and eyes and make you sick.

Good hand hygiene requires you to wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or make use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with a minimum of 60% alcohol if soap and water are not close by. Doing this helps lower the spread of germs that can cause illness, particularly if it's at intervals throughout the day. To prevent children from ingesting the soap or sanitizers, hand sanitizers and soaps should be stored away and kept out of sight of children under six and should be used with adult supervision.

Incorporating Cleaning and Disinfection into the Daily Plan

Who will clean, how often, and where?

Cleaning helps in lowering the risk of spreading infection by eliminating germs on surfaces people touch regularly. Consider cleaning more frequently at your school to decrease the spread of the virus that causes Coronavirus.

How to Carry Out Effective Cleaning and Disinfection in Schools?

Staff and Scheduling

Have a concrete plan with your staff and teachers. Take time to talk about the obstacles to more frequent cleaning and ways to overcome the challenges.

Then adequately train your staff and teachers, and make sure that your cleaning staff, teachers, and others who use soaps and disinfectants carefully read and understand all instruction labels. And ensure they understand the safe and proper use and use the personal protective equipment appropriate for the product.

Soiled Surfaces and Objects

After cleaning all surfaces and dirty items, use soap (liquid or detergent) and water to wipe surfaces or objects that look dirty. Dirty surfaces should be thoroughly cleaned with soap and water before disinfection.

If surfaces or items are stained with body fluids or blood, use gloves and other standard precautions to avoid contact with the liquid. Wipe and remove the spilled fluid and then carefully clean and disinfect the surface.

Frequently Touched Surfaces

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (for instance, sink handles, door handles, drinking fountains, etc.) within the school and on the school buses. This may include other areas or surfaces, but ensure you follow the same standard procedures for disinfection.

If any surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or liquid soap and water before any disinfection.

Shared Objects

Don't encourage sharing items that are difficult to clean. Always disinfect items like classroom stapler, electronic devices, learning aids, whiteboard markers and erasers, pens and pencils, books, games, and art supplies such as markers, crayons, scissors, etc. Finally, soft and porous materials, like rugs and seating, may be removed to decrease the difficulty of cleaning and disinfecting them.

Safe and Effective Disinfection

Not all surface needs to be disinfected every time it is cleaned. Highly prioritize disinfecting surfaces that sick and infected persons have touched and those surfaces that are routinely touched or shared between students.

Choosing the Right Products

When selecting disinfectants, make sure you use products on the EPA's List N: Disinfectants For Coronavirus (COVID-19). These EPA products can eliminate the virus that causes COVID-19. And those products include sprays, concentrates, and wipes.

Ensure that there are enough supplies available to support regular cleaning and disinfection. Deliberate on whether teachers and staff will need additional cleaning and disinfection supplies (e.g., gloves, cleaning and disinfection products, paper towels) beyond those usual stocked in classrooms and the school environment.

Hand hygiene: Promoting It in Your School

The best medium to prevent COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to the coronavirus, which can spread from person to person. Another significant preventive action you can take is to wash your hands regularly. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content if soap and water are not available. Washing hands is one of the most efficient ways a person can avoid getting sick or infected. This helps prevent you from several infections because:

  • People usually touch their eyes, nose, and mouth unintentionally.
  • Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to items and objects, such as doorknobs, handrails, tabletops, handle, or keyboards, and then transferred to another person's hands if they touch it.

Therefore, eliminating germs by handwashing helps prevent diarrhea and any other respiratory infections and helps prevent skin and eye infections. Ensure that there are enough supplies to reduce sharing of regularly touched materials to the safest extent possible (i.e., providing each student with their art supplies, equipment). You can also reduce the use of supplies and equipment to a particular group of students and clean between each use.