Many school administrators spent the summer trying to plan for the safe reopening of schools. While the COVID-19 virus is still very much alive and well, schools have reopened and children across the country have returned to the classrooms. With enhanced safety protocols including masks, social distancing, and sanitizing and disinfecting integral parts of a reopening plan, we need to make sure that our children are safe in their schools.
In order to kill the virus on surfaces, proper disinfecting and sanitizing protocols must be followed, but is this safe for kids? Are the disinfecting protocols kid-safe? The last thing we want to do is put our children in harms' way while we are trying to keep them safe from the virus.
To learn more about kid-safe sanitation, read on.
Sanitizing and Disinfecting Recommendations
The CDC recommends that schools use products that work against COVID-19. Simply cleaning with soap and water will not take care of sanitation. That will only clean a surface. To sanitize, products that kill the virus must be used.
Some of the products that the EPA recommends include quaternary ammonium (or "quats") and sodium hypochlorite, which is commonly known as chlorine bleach. Both of these products can pose health hazards like skin rashes, dermatitis, lung irritation, eye irritation, and breathing problems.
Workers regularly exposed to quats have developed occupational asthma and quats have been linked to birth defects. Because of the potential risks that these products pose, it is recommended to choose products that contain ingredients such as:
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Lactic acid
- Citric acid
In addition to using safe products, it's also important to use them properly.
If your school uses bleach, it should be mixed with water. CDC recommendations call for 1/3 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water. When bleach solutions are being used, keep windows open during and after the cleaning. The bleach and bleach solution should be locked up and kept out of children's reach as chlorine bleach can cause chemical eye injuries in kids.
Instead of bleach, schools could use a 70% alcohol solution as this will also kill the coronavirus and other germs that cause illness. This is also the same recommended percentage for alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Make Sure They Have a Plan
Your school should make their plan for sanitization and disinfecting available to parents. Make sure there is a clear plan on who is cleaning, how they should clean, what they will use, and how often the cleaning is taking place. CDC recommendations call for regular cleaning of high touch areas, including:
- Light switches
- Eating areas
- Door handles
- Mice and keyboards
These areas should be cleaned throughout the day after regular use. In addition, there should be thorough deep cleaning and sanitizing happening in classrooms and other spaces at night and on the weekends. You can also keep your children safe by sending them to school with hand sanitizer and their own package of cleaning wipes.
Keeping our children safe in schools starts with parents. Schools must create kid-safe plans for cleaning and disinfecting schools, but parents also must make sure those plans are safe for their children.
Stay informed and stay involved and support your school in whatever ways that you can.
Our company can help keep your children's school safe and clean with our professional cleaning and disinfection services. Contact us today for more information about how we can help and to book an appointment.