As many schools across the country are shutting down to contain the potential spread of COVID-19 or as a result of community spread outbreak, some schools may be thinking about or have started the deep cleaning process. Here are some tips and best practices on deep cleaning and disinfecting a facility during a closure.
- Make sure the disinfectant you’re using is approved for use against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Confirm whether your disinfectant is approved for use by contacting the manufacturer and searching the product’s EPA registration # on the EPA List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2, a list created by EPA that contains products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2.
- Disinfect all touchpoints, not just the frequently touched surfaces. To make the process easier, consider using equipment such as electrostatic sprayers, foggers and misters to make sure hard to reach surfaces are not missed.
- Make sure the custodial staff are properly trained and wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Remove any visible soil with a detergent-based cleaner before applying a disinfectant and follow instructions on the product label for effective disinfecting. Some disinfectants also have cleaning properties and therefore, can be used for both steps.
- Ensure surfaces remain visibly wet for the contact time specified on the product label.
To minimize cross contamination, here are additional considerations when disinfecting surfaces.
- Disinfect surfaces from clean areas to dirty areas. For example, restrooms being one of the highly contaminated areas should be cleaned last.
- Disinfect surfaces from high areas to low areas so that any dirt or dust that may contain germs dislodged from above are removed when you clean the lower surfaces.
- Disinfect last after other activities (including emptying trash, removing visible soil and vacuuming) are complete, so that any potentially contaminated dirt and dust don’t re-contaminate already disinfected surfaces.
Lastly, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has specific recommendations for when a COVID-19 case has been confirmed in your facility. These recommendations include:
- Close off areas used by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 persons and wait for 24 hours, if possible, before beginning cleaning and disinfecting to minimize potential for exposure to respiratory droplets.
- Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
This Guide from CloroxPro provides additional information on how facility managers can help prepare for COVID-19 in schools.
For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, go to the CDC website.