Contributed by Stratus Building Solutions.
It is widely accepted that schools need to be clean so that students can learn in a positive atmosphere. After all, it’s hard to get excited about studying a famous microbiologist like Louis Pasteur when you’re worried about germs lurking on your dirty desk.
Because unsanitary schools can undermine children’s morale, not to mention make them sick more often, schools need to be as proactive as possible when it comes to cleaning their classrooms, hallways, restrooms, lockers, cafeterias, and Moreover. A dirty school can send the message that teachers and faculty members don’t care enough about students to keep a school clean and aren’t invested in the future of children.
When considering the importance of a clean learning environment, here are some things to keep in mind:
Improper cleaning can injure children.
As the American Lung Association points out, some cleaning products contain dangerous chemicals, such as VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that can contribute to chronic respiratory conditions, allergic reactions, and headaches. Some cleaning chemicals are known to be carcinogenic and can produce dangerous indoor pollutants. In other words, you could be cleaning a school, every day, and your students could still get sick.
All of this to say you want a cleaning company or cleaning products that meet USGBC’s LEED commercial cleaning standards. Chemicals must be approved by a non-profit accreditation source, such as Green Seal. Ideally, schools need custodians who use advanced cleaning equipment that uses UV-C light and allergy-friendly HEPA filters. All chemicals used must be biodegradable, non-toxic and absolutely no VOCs. This will help reduce bacteria without harming the health of the students.
You can never clean a school too much.
You really can’t clean too much, as long as what you’re cleaning isn’t made up of harsh chemicals. Throughout the school day, children cough in hallways and classrooms, sneeze into their hands, then touch doorknobs and desks, etc. Everyone’s shoes bring back what they have trampled on outside.
It’s no wonder that every elementary school child catches eight to 12 colds or flu cases each school year, according to John Hopkins Medicine. (For high schoolers, it’s usually half that.) This means your student body is constantly and continually at risk of dangerous bacteria and germs. Cleaning a school often reduces illnesses and therefore attendance problems, for both students and teachers.
Clean schools actually help the budget.
Good cleaning practices are an investment in the school that will pay off in the long run. New local residents, who visit a school and watch it for their children or future children, are more likely to put down roots in a community that values a clean building. The new movers, of course, equal more tax dollars, which helps the school budget. Fewer sick days for teachers also means paying fewer substitute teachers. The only possible downside is that cleaning a school is one of those expenses whose results are easy to miss. People take well-kept and spotless schools for granted. But if you take cleanup out of the school budget, in no time, students, teachers, and parents will be giving the school a failing grade.