Team Clean, Inc.Team Clean, Inc.

Avoiding Classroom Germs, From Sniffles to Flu

The first and most effective defense against the flu is cleanliness.  John Rosales of the NEA outlines the five basic steps of flu-fighting in our schools:

From the first fall sniffles to the advance of flu season, educators and students can’t completely avoid being exposed to colds and viruses, but they can take actions to reduce the chances of getting sick.

We asked four experienced, award-winning custodians—those professionals on the frontlines of keeping schools clean—for their advice on minimizing the spread of germs in the classroom. Here are their top five tips:

1.         Wipe It Down

Fortunately, custodians provide a thorough cleaning of classrooms before and/or after school, but teachers and paras can help contain the spread of germs in between classes by “cleaning desktops, counters, sinks, soap and paper towel dispensers especially during a flu outbreak,” says Pat Nicholson, winner of the 2009 C.L.E.A.N. Award (Custodial Leaders for Environmental Advocacy Nationwide). “Wiping door handles and frames, walls and counters that are touched by hundreds of hands every day with an effective sanitizer and a micro fiber towel will limit the spread of viruses.”

2.         Stock Supplies and Cover Up

“Teachers and paras should keep tissues, hand sanitizer, and sanitizer wipes in classrooms for when kids sneeze or cough,” says Briana Rivera, from Saks Elementary School in Anniston, Alabama, and a runner-up in this year’s C.L.E.A.N.  Award competition. “As a preventive measure, they should talk to the kids about covering their mouths and washing their hands to contain the spread of germs.”

Steve Brooks of the Maryland State Teachers Association has spent 15 years in school maintenance. He says that classrooms with sinks should have the proper hand sanitizers to take advantage of a quick way to kill germs before they spread.

“When students cough, immediately ask them to go to the sink and wash,” says Brooks, president of the Calvert Association of Educational Support Staff. “Keep disinfector wipes in stock and continuously wipe off.”

3.         Monitor Students and Send Them Home When Appropriate

When necessary, teachers should send sick kids home.

“Paras can help keep an eye on the kids who are coughing,” says Brooks, a graduate of the ESP Leaders for Tomorrow program. “Because kids cough and keep going.”

Nicholson confirms that staff should be on the lookout for students as well as teachers with flu symptoms. “Staff with the flu should stay home as well,” he says.

4.         Minimize Objects That Attract Germs

Teachers and paraeducators should also “always work to minimize the number of objects in a classroom that are handled by students and can carry germs,” says Arnold.

Nicholson says sofas, beanbag chairs, recliners, and rugs are “asthma trigger reservoirs,” providing a home for dust, dust mites, pet dander, and pathogens which can trigger asthma attacks. Nearly one in 10 students has asthma.

“These students will benefit from the removal of these items,” Nicholson says. “This type of furniture also obstructs cleaning in your classroom.”

And while you’re at it, cut down on clutter.

“Uncluttered horizontal surfaces can be cleaned quickly and easily,” says Nicholson. “Desks and countertops collect dust and particulates. It takes custodians longer to clean surfaces covered with clutter.”

5.         Work as a Team

“Dealing with germs is a team effort,” says Brooks, who works at Patuxent High School in Lusby. “We might not get 100 percent of them, but you need to have the teacher and para supporting what custodians do in the morning and after school.”

Other vital members in this team effort include students.

“We teach kids everything else, so we can teach them how to keep from spreading germs,” Brooks adds.

This article has been edited. The original appeared here.

 

Green Cleaning

Green Cleaning: Why It’s Important

Carpeting, flooring, waste bins, windows, bathrooms; all areas of your building need to be cleaned, that’s a given.  Nobody is ever delighted to walk into a dirty building or room.  Cleaning is important to maintain the look and feel of your establishment.  What’s more important than that?  Your health. Routine cleaning takes away dirt, allergens, and food sources for pests who carry bacteria and disease.  Air quality is a big issue especially for those who have a chronic health condition.

Ok, so, we’ve cleaned and polished, and reduced any contaminants in the air; We’re done, right? Not so fast.  How did you accomplish that clean?  What kind of products are you using?  To some this might seem “nit-picky,” but it is a very valid question.  Are you using the safest products to achieve the goal? Cleaning chemicals are known to be abrasive and powerful solutions that are meant to destroy dirt and odor.  Often these chemicals are branded with disclaimers and warnings about the effect they might have on health.  These products can be a danger.  Working toward using safer “greener” products can reduce or eliminate the dangers revolving around using such abrasive chemicals.

According to EnvirOx:

  1. Safer products reduce worker’s comp issues. Right now, six out of 100 custodial workers have a chemical-related worker’s comp claim per year.
  2. Safer chemicals also reduce surface wear & tear. If it’s safe for the environment and safe for people, the product probably isn’t going to hurt your carpet, either.
  3. Sustainable, concentrated chemicals often have a high yield — that is, the concentrated chemical makes a lot of in-use cleaning product. This can lead to big in-use savings over ready-to-use products that end up in landfills.

Taking steps now to move toward safer cleaning products will save you money, and create an even healthier environment.  Team Clean proudly uses green cleaning products in our operations.  Ensure the safety of your facility and the well-being of your staff; all while saving money. It’s a win-win.

Floor Care

Focus on Floor Care this Summer

No matter the type of flooring environment your facility is equipped with it is essential to maintain it properly during the summer months. The choices that building owners and designers have to work with when it comes to the type of flooring continues to evolve, but no matter your style choice or preference your floors need to be maintained properly and pristinely.  Simply put, your floor appearance will deteriorate if it is not addressed routinely and professionally.

Besides the general appeal of your flooring, it is paramount to ensure that your floors are properly maintained for the safety of your guests.  Most slip accidents happen when floors are contaminated. Effective cleaning should remove contamination and reduce the risk of slips. Incorrect cleaning can lead to a build-up of contamination, making the floor more slippery.  Machines can clean floors effectively if they are maintained and used correctly by trained operators.  In correct or untrained use could result in the build of both contaminants and cleaning products.

Additionally, it is important to consider the cleaning products being used on flooring.  Deterioration of appearance may be expedited by using inappropriate cleansers with an incompatible floor surface.  You need a commercial janitorial service that knows the right product for the job, and how that product will affect the quality of the flooring.  From dry dirt to black heel dirt, having the necessary knowledge and experience is imperative to execute the job correctly.  Building owners and facilities managers need to be aware of the fact that this type of dirt needs to be removed daily in order to avoid premature flooring failure and replacements.

You can save on cost in the future if you do your research now.  Find a company that has a Quality Assurance program and hands-on training with their team from experienced industry professionals.  That is the formula for your success this summer as you maintain your flooring to impeccable standards.

 

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