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Back to school


Jean-Henri Beukes, Managing Director of Ecocleen, gives us three top tips to stay safe when returning to school.


the students go home and the cleaners come in and reset the site ready for the students to come back the next day. However, this will not be rigorous enough to break the cycle of the potential infection.


In May 2020, Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, announced that schools would start reopening, with early years returning on 1 June and older years returning a few weeks later.


As well as adjusting education facilities to meet the requirements around government-enforced social distancing measures, schools should also consider key practices in terms of hygiene and facility management.


Most schools have been closed for many weeks, with certain or all buildings out of use during the lockdown period. Therefore, before reopening the facilities to students, teachers and potentially parents, the learning facilities will need to prepare these areas to prevent the spread of infection and to keep everyone safe during school hours.


Change to 'Cross-contamination'


For schools to return safely, there needs to be an advanced cleaning specification, one that has been adjusted to the specific environments. Schools will need to reduce class sizes and make sure students stay within these small groups, creating a protective bubble around them. To secure those bubbles, schools will need to safeguard cross-contamination to ensure the risk of transmission is substantially reduced – for students, their teachers and also their families.


This is going to require changes in the cleaning specifications and potentially introduce daily cleaning throughout school hours. Normally at the end of the day,


44 | EDUCATIONAL AND SCHOOL FACILITIES


Schools should consider how they can provide a safe environment for their students, in terms of hand sanitisation and installing dispensing units around the school. Throughout the day people touch door handles and a number of different contact points, meaning these areas need to be cleaned more frequently. This will help schools to safeguard their student bubbles and reduce the risk of cross-contamination.


It’s also about affordability when reducing cross- contamination. Service providers need to adjust and accommodate the education sector by topping and tailing. This involves looking at when they have the most people visiting the school facility during the day.


Service providers should be aware of the periods when there is less foot traffic in schools, and therefore less build up on the sites, before reinvesting that time accordingly. The cleaning efforts and resources should be shifted to assist during the day and help to support the overall cleanliness for students and teachers.


Staff training


The global pandemic has created a huge opportunity for education facilities to invest in training for their staff and making sure the people that are fulfilling the responsibility are up for the task. It’s even more prevalent now as they need to completely understand infection control procedures and follow the guidelines to ensure the schools are a safe environment for students. This is all going to come down to the training and support that the staff receive.


This training will also contribute to their general wellbeing. For example, if you were to put yourself in that position, in terms of being responsible for the cleanliness of your school and potentially putting yourself at risk of catching the virus, you would want to know as much as you can.


As a nation, we are expecting a lot from our frontline staff twitter.com/TomoCleaning


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