In the month of September, schools reopened once again for teachers and students across Ontario. However, this time is different given the COVID-19 pandemic, as institutions have had to adapt to changes and focus on the enhanced safety measures required for allowing staff and students back in schools. Here are some examples of protocols and practices to follow to ensure a safe facility.
Public Health Ontario released a detailed document regarding cleaning and disinfection for public settings. They recommend using a cleaning schedule to track the facility’s cleaning and to log in details if required. This document also recommends the use of cleaning products, disinfectants and bleach to clean high touchpoints and contaminated areas.
Helpful cleaning practices
Some helpful practices to follow are to establish an isolation and screening room, should a potential positive case occur. It is also important to use cleaning solutions that break down grease and remove organic material from the surface and that can be used separately from disinfectants. When choosing a disinfectant, make sure it has a Drug Identification Number (DIN), to ensure it is safe to use in a proper amount and ratio. Disinfecting wipes are useful for any quick and last-minute clean-ups, as they contain combined cleaners and disinfectants in one wipe. Lastly, in a case where rubbing alcohol is needed, it is crucial to use a rubbing alcohol-based product with a minimum of 60 per cent alcohol concentration to guarantee proper disinfection.
Public Health Ontario also released an Infection Prevention and Control Measures document to maintain low levels of community and school virus transmissions, including the tracking of vaccinations among staff and students, daily symptom screening and contact tracing to prevent the spread of infection. On top of that, the document recommends extra measures such as professional HVAC maintenance to ensure ventilation and filtration are regularly cleaned.
Masks, social distancing and hygiene
The Toronto District School Board had published a guide restating measures provided by Public Health Ontario, while also reinforcing masks, social distancing and proper hygiene when attending schools.
Overall, additional cleaning protocols and safety measures are required this school year to ensure the proper health of staff and students and a safe environment. A pro tip is to contract professional cleaning services and to stay updated with the latest recommendations from credible sources, such as Public Health Ontario.