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How is MRSA Spread & How to Protect Students in Your School?

As a facility manager of a school, you’re familiar that during cold and flu season, the halls may be a little less crowded. In fact, most students contract sicknesses while at school, so you’ll need to take the necessary steps to reduce the spread of disease in your educational facility. However, MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) has become a common problem in schools. This bacteria can be spread in a variety of ways, but the best way to prevent it from spreading is to stop it at the source: locker rooms and restrooms.

How MRSA Actually Spreads

MRSA is spread by contact. Whether a student comes in contact with an already infected student, or they’re in the locker room handling athletic equipment that hasn’t been properly cleaned, the spread of MRSA is an ever-present threat. This is especially true in high-risk areas, like your school’s locker room and restroom, because of the atmosphere is usually ripe for bacteria growth and spread.

Signs & Symptoms of MRSA

When someone is infected with MRSA, they’ll begin to show signs. MRSA usually appears in the form or bumps, pimples, and boils. Infected individuals will also appear to be red, as well as warm to the touch. Unlike most skin irritations or signs of swelling, the boils that are present due to MRSA can result in a lot of pain to the infected student. The bacteria usually stays in the skin. However, in some cases, it can find its way deeper into the body, resulting in potentially life-threatening infections to organs, bones, and even the blood.

How to Reduce the Spread of MRSA & Protect Students

As a facility manager, the only way you can really prevent the spread of this bacteria is by ensuring that you properly clean and sanitize the high risk areas. However, no matter how hard you clean, the risk of MRSA may still persist because certain materials, like your lockers or toilet stalls and partitions, may already be beyond the point of no return. You may want to consider replacing some of these materials for a stronger, more reliable and secure alternative.

Most lockers are made of steel, and locker rooms (and restrooms) deal with constant moisture and humidity, which can cause rust and even help exacerbate the spread of mold and bacteria. Most toilet partitions are made from a thin plastic and have a paper core interior. However, this inner core can absorb the present moisture and begin to sprout mold and bacteria.

It may already be too late for your current lockers and toilet partitions to be thoroughly cleaned and be cleared of any bacteria. However, it’s not too late to replace your stalls and partitions with a better material like HDPE plastic. This solid and durable plastic is impenetrable, so mold and bacteria can’t contaminate the interior. This plastic just needs a simple cleaning with some sanitary products to be free of bacteria and moisture. Implementing HDPE lockers and partitions in your school can reduce the amount of sick or absent students.

Are you interested in learning more about HDPE plastic materials and how they can help you keep your school secure and free from the spread of bacteria? Check out this blog post on how you can prevent bacteria growth on bathroom partitions, from your friends at Scranton Products.

Creating a Safe Learning Environment Through Facility Maintenance & Management

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One of the most important components of a person’s ability to learn is their environment. Whether it’s a young child or an adult college student, the facility in which they’re being educated directly affects their ability to learn. As a facility manager, it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure that you’re creating a safe learning environment through facility maintenance and management.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you make sure that your facility is well maintained and managed in the hopes of it being perceived as a safe learning environment.

Air Quality

While air quality is important to consider on all levels, it can actually have a direct effect on a person’s ability to learn. If your facility has poor indoor air quality, it could lead to students having irritated eyes, upper respiratory infections, headaches, and even sleepiness—not exactly a recipe for improved learning.

You can take several steps in your facility maintenance and management plan to increase the quality of your air. One involves having clean floors. While mopping and vacuuming can be effective, one way to stop allergens and other harmful materials is through floor mats. Large floor mats placed outside and inside can catch some of these materials and prevent them from entering the air. Be sure to have the floor cleaned at least twice a week. If you’re using a vacuum, it’s always a good idea to clean out the filter regularly.

Cleaner Restrooms

The quality of air in restrooms can be questionable. Humidity and moisture tend to build up in bathrooms, which then can result in mold and fungus. While air fresheners in your facility maintenance plan can be useful for combating the odors in the bathroom, the culprit may be your stalls and partitions.

Bathroom partitions are constantly subjected to moisture and humidity, mold can eventually grow inside the stalls, which will continuously drop the air quality. By, Investing in HDPE (high-density polyethylene) stalls  it can  help to prevent the growth of mold. HDPE is resistant to moisture and a more durable material than those found in most stalls.

Reducing Graffiti

While art is important in a person’s education, said art should only be placed on a designated canvas. Graffiti is a common scourge to facility surfaces like lockers and bathroom stalls. Painting over the graffiti is a common answer to the problem, but not only will it invite more graffiti, the paint could put VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions into the air.

In this instance, using HDPE lockers for your facility maintenance and management plan has numerous benefits. The material is resistant to graffiti and scratches, so it doesn’t require you to repaint it. Any drawing or writing can be easily wiped away without having to risk the air quality during graffiti removal.

Better Ventilation

It’s always good to check the ventilation system to make sure that everything is working properly. Discomfort can be a huge distraction when trying to learn, so providing a comfortable environment is crucial. Make a point to continuously check your heating and ventilation systems to ensure that they’re performing as expected without any waste in energy.

We hope that these facility maintenance and management tips will help to promote a safer learning environment in your school or facility. If you want to learn even more about how you can create a safe learning environment, check out our Hiny Hiders case study and learn how HDPE bathroom stalls helped the Dallas Independent School District.