Schools need to take comprehensive approach to disease control

Cleaning crews in schools are just like their counterparts in hospitals on the front lines of the war on disease.  Cleaning Schools for Health, Not for Appearance discusses this in some detail. How schools are cleaned can and will impact the health of all building occupants, including students and faculty. Hygiene is involves much more than seemingly clean surfaces.

Creating Healthy Indoor Air Quality in Schools is a comprehensive piece put out by the Environmental Protection Agency, focusing largely on surface hygiene. The EPA has created apps and a series of webinars outlining the threat of poor air quality. The air-surface interfaces in schools also impact air quality.

An evaluation of the impact of flooring types on exposures to fine and coarse particles within the residential micro-environment using CONTAM notes that walking across the floor will aerosolize particles on the floor and put them back into the air. If those particles are viruses or bacteria, it creates the threat of infection. If it is dirt, pollen or chemicals, the risk moves toward asthma triggers.

Hand hygiene is and always will remain critical to controlling infection. Proper hand hygiene will impact the health of staff and students.   Effects of Hand Hygiene Campaigns on Incidence of Laboratory-confirmed Influenza and Absenteeism in Schoolchildren, Cairo, Egypt  studies the effectiveness of intense hand hygiene.

Reducing Absenteeism From Gastrointestinal and Respiratory Illness in Elementary School Students: A Randomized, Controlled Trial of an Infection-Control Intervention concludes that “A multifactorial intervention including hand sanitizer and surface disinfection reduced absenteeism caused by gastrointestinal illness in elementary school students. Norovirus was found less often on classroom surfaces in the intervention group. Schools should consider adopting these practices to reduce days lost to common illnesses.”

Clean air, hands and surfaces will impact the health of your employees, volunteers and students.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Infection control is for everybody, even schools.

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