It took a pandemic for our school systems to recognize the importance of surface disinfection and deep cleaning. According to the consensus from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies, disinfecting and cleaning are core strategies for controlling the spread of harmful viruses and bacteria. Professional cleaning and disinfection services are necessary to aid Covid-19 prevention measures in schools, especially with regard to surface transmission.
Factors Contributing to Surface Contamination in Schools
The CDC continues to refine its research-based guidance to reflect on what is known about surface transmission and infection prevention. The primary route of infection spread is through respiratory droplets. Face masks may seem an adequate prevention measure to fight the spread of infection. However, little children cannot be trusted to keep their masks on properly at all times. Despite that, it’s better to have kids wear medical masks, such as KN95 disposable face masks or surgical masks, rather than no mask at all.
They may sneeze or cough in their hands and then touch countertops, tabletops, door knobs, faucets, light switches, toilets, and other surfaces. This can cause the virus to spread from one student or teacher to the next. This type of infection spread is called fomite transmission. According to the CDC, the risk of fomite transmission can be reduced through dedicated hand hygiene and other mitigation measures. However, schools should not leave things to chance. They should consider hiring the services of a professional cleaning and disinfection company.
Importance of Surface Decontamination
Everybody wants schools, public areas, and commercial facilities to reopen and stay that way. Surface decontamination and area disinfection is of paramount importance towards this effect. Regular disinfection will result in healthier teachers and a better learning experience. It will also reduce absenteeism in students. In addition, surface disinfection helps maintain a placebo effect in staff and students alike.
They feel better coming to school when they know that the environment is germ free and healthy. Disinfection involves regular cleaning as per CDC guidelines. This indirectly helps in reducing the accumulation of dust and allergens. Kids can find it easier to focus on what’s happening in the school and not their symptoms.
Reducing the Risk of Germ Transmission Through Disinfection
Fomite transmission is now believed to be relevant for covid-19 or the Wuhan virus and other pathogens, especially in schools and daycare settings. The CDC guides to regularly and frequently cleaning high-touch surfaces. It is not enough to just clean with soap and water. This is particularly true for surfaces where infectious germs may be present. Presently, there is no report stating the efficacy of cleaning surfaces with soap or detergent for reducing concentrations of coronavirus on non-porous surfaces.
You need to use appropriate EPA-registered disinfectants where illness-causing germs are present, such as SARS-CoV-2, flu, common cold, or any other. These products need to be regularly used for breaking the cycle of fomite hand transmission.
Significance of Dwell Time While Disinfecting
Dwell time is a particular amount of time required by any given disinfectant to destroy certain pathogens on hard, nonporous surfaces. Dwell time is also known as kill time. There is no common contact time for all disinfectants. It varies as per the solution and the type of pathogens being destroyed. Most consumers overlook the important role of contact time. This is because they don’t read manufacturer instructions or are not trained to understand them.
In fact, regular janitorial service providers may not know much about kill time specifics as well. This makes it important to work with a professional disinfection service provider. It is pointless to spray with a disinfectant and immediately wipe it away. The solution won’t have sufficient time to work or be effective.
Maintaining a Balance to Minimize Chemical Exposure
Surfaces can quickly become contaminated with droplets when a student, child or any other staff member sneezes, coughs and talks loudly. While surfaces are a big risk, it’s necessary that the school administration doesn’t overdo disinfection. You need to understand that disinfectants are potent chemicals. They can cause breathing troubles and allergic reactions in young children.
The right balance between killing germs and keeping students healthy needs to be found. Experienced disinfection service providers know high-touch areas in a given school facility. They will focus frequently on these surfaces while giving a once over to others. This step can greatly reduce the impact of disinfectants on the health of staff members and children.
A December study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in Practice reported the correlation between worsening asthma attacks and the significant rise in the use of cleaning products. The CDC has issued various guidelines for the effective use of bleach and other disinfectants. Professionals keep themselves up to date with these guidelines and recommendations. They also know the benefits of using green chemicals.