Schools Thinking Outside the Box on Coronavirus
August 17, 2020 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
Managers in education organizations nationwide continue their search for strategies and tactics that can prevent the spread of the coronavirus in their facilities. In higher education, the efforts employed by managers have shined a spotlight on the role of front-line technicians in implementing virus control strategies. In the nation’s K-12 school districts, managers are thinking outside the box in seeking to prevent transmission of COVID-19 as they plan for the return of students.
For some districts, outside the box means outside the building. Districts are laying the groundwork to move some instruction to outdoor classrooms, according to NBC News. They're betting that the lower risk of disease transmission in the open air, and the extra space outside for children to spread out, can make it safer for students to get face-to-face instruction.
In Alabama, Chilton County School District is using a new cleaning tool to combat the coronavirus, without having to scrub desks, chairs and chalkboards, according to U.S. News and World Report. Custodians will be armed with 18 backpack decontamination foggers for the 16 school buildings. Says Freddy Smith, the district’s maintenance director, “It’s got a five-minute COVID kill, that’s what you’re looking at.” He adds that he plans for custodians to spray bathrooms, common areas and door handles after every class change.
As managers review their staffing and decision-making processes for protecting occupants from the coronavirus, they might consider adding outside expertise to help meet this unique challenge: “Infection preventionists are of utmost importance to work with school systems and provide the safest strategies and environmental modifications which can suppress the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus,” according to Infection Control Today.
Dan Hounsell is editor of Facility Maintenance Decisions.