The flu virus is rampant throughout the United States this season, and schools are being hit particularly hard. According to CNN, entire schools have been closed for at least a day or more due to the flu in 12 states.
The Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, Illinois, for example, had to shut its doors due to the virus for nearly a week. This is the first time in the school’s 30-year history that it has closed due to illness, and although students and teachers had to stay home, cleaning crews were tasked with wiping down every hard surface in the academic buildings and dorms.
School was closed in the Port St. Joe district in Florida also, where the buildings were cleaned and sanitized before the 1,900 students could return. The same went for Hugo-area schools in Oklahoma and Kalamazoo Public Schools in Michigan.
What To Do When a Flu Outbreak Strikes
When a flu outbreak strikes, the normal regular cleaning of hard surfaces with general cleaning agents simply isn’t enough. Instead, schools must add sanitizing or disinfecting of any high-touch point areas and increase cleaning frequency.
Every school should have a well-developed procedure outlining which surfaces need to be disinfected, the tools for those tasks and how they will be used. Dual-bucket cleaning systems are important for reducing cross-contamination, and it’s important for custodial staff to have cleanup kits on hand for dealing with bodily fluids.
Hard surfaces should be regularly cleaned, but high-touch points need special attention. These areas include obvious targets like door handles and desks, but cleaning staff may not immediately think of toilet flush levers or the locks inside bathroom stalls, keyboards, pencil sharpeners or water fountain buttons.
Certain cleaning supplies in St Louis should be in your school’s cleaning arsenal. These include EPA-registered disinfectants that include a Norovirus kill claim. Using a disinfectant wipe that meets these standards can reduce absenteeism in schools by up to 50 percent!