You've invested in keeping your school clean all year long. Janitorial services were regularly scheduled, your floors were stripped and waxed and your carpets where deep cleaned. But how clean is your campus really? And what should you do about cleaning throughout the summer?
There may be less students on campus during summer break, but that is no excuse to halt regular cleaning. Summer school is in session, sports teams are training to prepare for next year and summer camps are on-boarding new students. Yes, there is less foot traffic, but that is even more reason to clean as you will avoid the burden of disrupting class time. Also, holding off on campus cleaning will create more work for your janitorial staff come July.
Keeping schools clean is vital to protecting human health and keeping students and teachers in school. ISSA reports that nearly 22 million school days are lost annually to the common cold and 38 million are lost to influenza. Teachers average 5.3 absent days a year, which equates to $25 billion lost annually. A teacher's absence doesn't stop school from going on. Substitute teachers cost the US $4 billion every year. Cleaning your facility during the summer can be the difference in stopping a chain reaction in its tracks and starting the school year with record breaking attendance.
Cold and flu viruses can live on surfaces anywhere from a few seconds to 48 hours, but bacteria can live on a surface for months. So even if a classroom isn't in use every day, cleaning during the summer is necessary. Using the proper disinfectants and paying extra attention to kill claims will keep bacteria from staking claims on hotspot areas.
There are a few places where bacteria is commonly found at schools:
- Water fountain Spigot – 2,700,000 bacteria per inch
- Cafeteria Tray – 33,800 bacteria per inch
- Cold Water Faucet – 32,000 bacteria per inch
- Cafeteria Plate – $15,800 bacteria per inch
- Computer Keyboard – $3,300 bacteria per inch
- Toilet Seat – 3,200 bacteria per inch
According to CleanLink, students aren't eating or drinking during the school day to avoid using restrooms at school because the restrooms are either dirty or out of toilet paper and soap. As school budgets continue to get cut, schools are getting even dirtier because cleaning services are often the first to be impacted.
Knowing that budget cuts are underway, many janitorial providers submit lower bids at the end of the year to secure their accounts. But cheaper labor comes at a price. Even if you are paying for the same services from the same provider, paying less is almost always a guarantee that the quality of your services will diminish.
Choosing a janitorial provider based on their proposal rather than their price point can be a challenge where money is concerned. But it will always save you money in the long run as your floors will last longer, your students and teachers will remain healthy and you won't need to spend the time and money to find a replacement later.
Some schools make the decision to hire a staff of their own. This is the right decision for your facility only if you are willing to put the time and money behind the right equipment and resources. It is reported that only 43.5% of school districts provide guidance for infectious disease prevention. Without the right resources available to them, in-house janitorial staffs are unable to keep schools as healthy as they need to be.
To make sure you get the most out of your summer cleaning, there are a few things you can do. First, pay attention to the places that matter like classrooms, restrooms locker rooms and the cafeteria. Next focus on areas that you typically don't have the time to focus on like hard to reach areas and repairs. A smart janitorial provider won't tackle it all at once. They will create a plan to keep your campus sparkling clean all summer and ready for school in August.
A school should be a safe learning environment for everyone and cleanliness creates safety. Regular cleaning during the summer will get your campus ready for back to school in no time.