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Flu Season is Coming: Reduce the Spread of Germs in Your School

Flu season can be a tough time of the year for school facility managers. Finding ways to combat the spread of germs

is easier said than done, but the important goal to keep in mind is to provide students with a safe and healthy environment to learn. The flu and germs can be easily spread in a school setting due to the many surfaces that are constantly touched, shared items, and the sheer number of students that could be ill. At times, it almost seems like an uphill battle. However, as a facility manager, there are several steps that you can take to help reduce the spread of germs in your school during flu season.

Inspect Your Water System

As flu season rolls in, you’ll want to be sure that your water system is in great shape. This not only means changing the filters to directly reduce any possible germs, but you’ll want to make sure that the actual water flow systems are functioning properly. During flu seasons, teachers are expected to stress to their students the importance of washing hands to avoid getting sick. This means that the faucets in your bathroom will be getting a lot of use, and that by functioning properly, it’ll allow students to wash their hands and help prevent the spread of germs.

Clean & Disinfect

Due to the many contact surfaces in your school, there’s no doubt that they’ve accrued their fair share of germs. During this season, it’s important to ramp up your cleaning schedule. Be sure to properly disinfect lunch tables, lockers, water fountains, door handles, and any other point that gets touched by many people throughout the day. By properly disinfecting any contact surfaces, you’re doing your part to greatly reduce the spread of germs and the flu.

Install Hand Sanitizer Stations

Hand sanitizer is one of your best friends when flu season rolls around. Even if a portion of the student body utilizes hand sanitizer, there will be a significant drop in student absences. You can put hand sanitizer pumps in bathrooms, the lunch room, and any administrative office. However, you may also want to invest in a hand sanitizer stand in high-traffic areas like major staircases, the library, and anywhere where there are computers. Shared computer keyboards are often a hotbed of germ spread, so be sure to combat it by offering hand sanitizer for students to use after they use the computer.

Reevaluate Your School’s Lockers & Toilet Partitions

Believe it or not, your lockers and toilet partitions can have a pretty significant part in the spread of germs. Toilet partitions can absorb moisture and sprout mold, and both partitions and lockers are touched frequently by many students throughout the day. Keeping up with sanitizing these components can prove difficult, but instead of regularly cleaning and sanitizing, why not replace these components with a better material that can resist the absorption of germs?

HDPE plastic—available as toilet partitions, lockers, and storage cubbies—provide a secure and stable structure that can stand up to the spread of germs. The surfaces are non-porous, so no bacteria will be infiltrating the inside of this solid plastic. HDPE plastic is also highly durable, and can actually resist scratches and dents. The biggest benefit of HDPE is that this material is low-maintenance and only requires a light cleansing, as opposed to the other materials that require vigorous scrubbing.

Would you like more information about keeping your facility in tip-top shape? Download our free commercial restroom cleaning checklist now!

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.