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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.

Plastic Lockers FAQ

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At Scranton Products, we’re more than happy to help any interested party learn more about HDPE plastic lockers, and why they’re a smart choice and a suitable material for your school or facility. In order to help you learn as much as possible about these lockers, we’ve assembled this plastic lockers FAQ page. We encourage you to look below to the relevant question to see if the answer helps you.

Are HDPE Lockers Durable?

Yes! HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic lockers have been proven to be more durable than traditional metal lockers. Due to their solid plastic construction, HDPE lockers are more impact-resistant than standard lockers. They won’t even dent or scratch. They’re also resistant to humidity and moisture, making them a valuable storage compartment in locker rooms or other damp areas of your school or facility. They’ll resist mold growth, as well as rust, so you don’t have to worry about costly replacements or repairs.

Do HDPE Lockers Require a Lot of Maintenance?

Because of the durable construction, HDPE lockers require very little maintenance. They’re guaranteed to last up to 20 years without any problems. The only maintenance that they require is a simple cleaning now and again. Imagine how much time and money you’ll save on maintenance! They essentially pay for themselves after a few years.

Are These Lockers Difficult to Assemble?

Installing these lockers is quick and easy. By following the instructions, you’ll see a fast and efficient installation process. With a little help, you can install all your lockers in one day.

Are HDPE Plastic Lockers Secure?

HDPE lockers are customizable, offering you many different options as to what type of locking system works best for you. Duralife lockers come with either an inset combination lock or a hasp. Tufftec lockers provide numerous options like padlocks, keys, in-door combinations, and even an RFID digital lock.

How Big Are HDPE Lockers?

These lockers don’t have a set size. You can actually customize the size and tiers that you want, depending on the needs, as well as the space allotted in your school or facility.

Do HDPE Lockers Need to Be Painted?

HDPE lockers don’t require you to paint them. They’re available in multiple designs, as well as homogenous colors. Any signs of graffiti can simply be wiped away, without you having to paint your lockers. Not only will this save you the effort, but you won’t be risking your air quality with the VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions released by paint.

What Are the Benefits of Choosing HDPE Lockers?

There are numerous benefits to choosing HDPE lockers. They’re durable, low-maintenance, cost-effective, long-lasting, and sustainable. They’re also considered green building materials, so you can get started on making your school or facility more sustainable by utilizing HDPE plastic lockers. These eco-friendly lockers would make a great addition to your school or facility.

 

Want to learn even more about HDPE lockers and the many benefits? Check out our Duralife lockers.

Where School Facilities Are Falling Behind: Improve Your Infrastructure Report Card

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How’s your school facility holding up? Does it meet the standards of the ASCE Infrastructure Report Card? There are a variety of factors that can attribute to a school falling behind based on its infrastructure and overall safety. The Infrastructure Report Card assesses the current state of your facility and how it’ll last over the years.

Getting an A is easier said than done. It requires your school facility to be in exceptional shape and have the capacity to handle its growing student body. However, a lot of schools fall behind because of the lack of maintenance or renovations to help keep the facility prepared for the future. Usually, these schools all suffer the same drawbacks that can affect their Infrastructure Report Card. Here are a few tips to get started and to improve your grade.

Finding Weak Areas in Your Facility

Before you try to improve your grade, you need to figure out what’s holding your facility back. While your school may not be in shambles, it’s important to consider all the factors with not only the structural integrity, but also with the various systems and components inside. Have an audit of your facility so you can have a manageable list of things to work on in order to bump up your grade on the Infrastructure Report Card.

Testing Your Air Quality

One of the most common contributors to a less than adequate grade of a facility is its air quality. This is a huge factor because not only does it have a negative effect on your grade, but it can also put your occupants’ health at risk. If you begin to search for areas with weak air quality, you should start with the restrooms.

Restrooms are a hotbed of mold growth due to the overwhelming moisture and humidity. While the walls and surfaces can be cleaned extensively to combat the threat of mold, the battle may be useless if it’s begun sprouting in your stalls and partitions. It’ll greatly reduce the air quality, as well as emit foul odors. A great way to reduce the risk of mold growth is replacing your stalls and partitions with a stronger material like HDPE (high-density polyethylene). This plastic material is not only resistant to scratches and dents, but due to its solid construction, mold won’t find a way to sprout inside.

Choosing Sustainable Products

One of the biggest contributors to the A grade on the Infrastructure Report Card is that the facility is long lasting. One way to help keep your facility in long-lasting shape is by utilizing sustainable materials that’ll last the years without any signs of damage or wear. The previously mentioned HDPE is one of the best materials to use for this. While it can help boost your bathroom’s air quality, HDPE can also be used for lockers. The lockers will outlast traditional metal or coated steel because they won’t dent, and will even resist graffiti.

Using HDPE materials wherever you can will benefit your school greatly. Not only will this material improve your air quality and resist any damage, but it’s also very low maintenance. You can save on maintenance costs because HDPE only needs routine cleaning—no repainting or adjusting.

 

Want to learn more about how you can improve your Infrastructure Report Card grade? Get the Sustainable Building Products: How to Make Your Facility Eco-Friendly from Top to Bottom or The Ultimate Guide for Facility Maintenance & Property Solutions eBooks, courtesy of Scranton Products.

Give Your Janitor A Break This Summer – Install Duralife Lockers®

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Lets talk about janitors, you know, those guys and gals, who are always there, on the ready with a sponge, broom or mop, just when you need them. They are in our schools all year long, available for any size clean up, taking care of the spills our kids make in the lunchroom, classroom and hallways. They go about their business undetected, coming out when needed. But do you know one of the ways they spend their summer (that coveted time of the year when your kids are home with you)? We do – they clean what they couldn’t clean during the year, the student’s lockers!

Making The Move Away From Metal

While we are spending our 3 months of summer relaxing at the beach, and eating ice cream, the school janitorial staff is cleaning up from the previous 9 months while school was in session. Schools with metal lockers have a regularly scheduled task associated with those lockers during the summer months, debridement of rust, dent repairs, chemical cleaning of graffiti and surface repainting. Lockers take a beating during the school year, with books being banged around, food deposits and spills, and not to mention, the dreaded odors of smelly, sweaty gym clothes. The labor-intensive cleanup task is costly to the school district, in several areas including labor, materials, and air & surface quality. As you can see, traditional metal lockers require extensive care and maintenance, and still don’t meet the needs of the busy school environment. But, we have a solution, Duralife Lockers® made with HDPE (High Density Polyethylene).

Duralife Lockers® are specifically designed to meet the durability and environmental demands of today’s busy schools. Made with solid-core HDPE, these lockers are impact, scratch and dent resistant, and hold up to the toughest student use. Graffiti readily wipes off the non-porous surface, and because they are impervious to moisture, Duralife Lockers® will never rust, corrode or delaminate. In addition, the HDPE surface does not harbor mold, mildew or bacterial growth, and the lockers can be fully power-washed or steam-cleaned. In short, with Duralife Lockers® you can say goodbye to rust, mold, graffiti, scratches, dents, and worrisome bacteria, and say hello to years of worry-free, low maintenance.

 

Robert Gannon, High School Facilities Director, on the benefits of HDPE lockers.

*Testing conducted by SiTU Biosciences LLC by the ISO 22196 methods

 

Sleek Modern Design For The School Hallways Of Tomorrow

When it comes to design, the modern sleek, simple lines of the Duralife® Locker line, make them a polished and aesthetically pleasing addition to any school hallway. They can really kick it up with their color options that bring high style to any atmosphere. The sustainability and durability stand up over time, making them a smart investment for today and tomorrow.

So Show Your Janitors Some Love This Summer – Invest In The Smart Choice – Duralife Lockers®

Download our brochure and see for yourself how HDPE Duralife Lockers® compare to traditional metal lockers – and Show Your Janitor Some Love This Summer!

What Is a Sustainable School?

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You may have heard the word “sustainability” a lot recently, and as a facility manager of a school, you may be wondering how you can make your school more sustainable. Many educational facilities across the country have been implementing sustainability and green plans to make their schools more eco-friendly and energy efficient. But what makes a school sustainable?

What Makes a School Sustainable?

In recent years, many organizations and schools have begun taking the necessary steps to reduce their carbon footprint though various means. The most popular route that schools have taken is with recycling. Ramping up their recycling process, and even hosting recycling-oriented events have proven successful in not only reducing waste, but also educating students on the environmental benefits of properly recycling their trash.

While recycling is effective at reducing waste and taking the necessary step toward eco-conscious practices, there are other ways that schools have made their facilities more sustainable. Cutting down on unnecessary energy by opening the windows during particularly nice days and utilizing non-toxic cleaning materials and school supplies have become popular practices. Even implementing green materials during renovations have proven to be highly effective. 

Making Your School Sustainable

Taking the necessary steps toward making your school sustainable has numerous benefits, including student health, reducing waste, conserving energy, and helping the environment. There are many different ways that you, the facility manager, can help make your school more sustainable and eco-friendly.

 

Using Green Materials

Whenever you need to renovate or remodel a portion of your school, you should implement green building materials wherever you can. Green building materials can help you use your resources and energy more efficiently. Materials like cork flooring, solar hot water heaters, and even recycled carpeting go a long way in increasing your school’s sustainability. Updating your school’s corridors with HDPE (high-density polyethylene) lockers has numerous sustainability benefits, and they even last longer than traditional lockers due to their durability and rust/mildew resistance, resulting in effective lockers that require very little maintenance.

 

Cleaning Your Air

One of the scourges of the environment is poor air quality. Unless you’re regularly testing your air, you may be dealing with poor air in your school. Touching up or completely repainting sections of your school can release VOC (volatile organic compounds) emissions in your air, which over time can result in poor air quality and health complications.

 

Focusing on the Bathroom

One of the best ways that you can move your school into a greener direction is by updating your restrooms. Whenever there’s a drop in your school’s air quality, the restrooms tend to be ground zero. Due to the constant barrage of moisture and humidity, mold will sprout. If it’s on the walls and on the floor, it can be easily removed. However, mold could be inside the stalls and partitions, so you’ll need a more durable and eco-friendly replacement. Utilizing HDPE materials for your stalls will not only reduce the mold growth, but it’ll also increase the air quality of your restrooms for a long time.

Taking the necessary steps toward sustainability will not only reduce waste, but it’ll be more cost-effective and eco-friendly.

 

Want to learn more about how to make your school more sustainable? Read Sustainable Building Products: How to Make Your Facility Eco-Friendly from Top to Bottom, courtesy of Scranton Products.

Determining the Lifecycle Cost of Lockers: Metal vs HDPE

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When you’re choosing the lockers for your school or facility, there are a variety of factors at play that you need to consider, not just for the immediate future, but for the long term. Choosing the right material for your lockers is crucial if you want to have functional storage compartments, but you’ll also want durable lockers that’ll last the years so you can get the most out of them without having to ensure a costly replacement years down the line. Making the right decision can end up saving you the costs for replacements and even maintenance. Learn more about the lifecycle cost of your lockers and the difference in cost between metal and HDPE lockers over time.

Choosing the Right Materials

Metal lockers have been the standard for a long time due to their durability, but they’ve received some criticism over the years because of the constant upkeep and maintenance that they require. Lately, some facility managers have been gravitating toward HDPE (high-density polyethylene) lockers because of the low-cost maintenance, durability, and their longevity. But in order to make the decision, you need to learn the benefits of both materials.

Metal Lockers vs HDPE Lockers

Both metal and HDPE lockers provide a strong construct that can last a long time and perform effectively for years. However, as most facility managers have learned, metal lockers are actually susceptible to a variety of factors and issues that can result in costly and recurring maintenance. HDPE requires very little maintenance over the years, resulting in less costs and a longer lasting material.

Metal lockers are susceptible to mold growth. Whether it’s in the locker room, or a lengthy corridor, moisture and humidity will cling to the metal. Over time, unsightly mildew will begin to sprout, resulting in a foul smell and a drop in air quality. Ridding the lockers of mold and mildew can be a costly and repetitive endeavor.

HDPE materials, on the other hand, are made of solid plastic. Mold can’t penetrate its thick construction, and its exterior is impervious to humidity and moisture. HDPE lockers are also resistant to impacts, scratches, and dents, and even graffiti can be eradicated with a simple wipe.

Benefits of HDPE Lockers

There are numerous benefits to choosing HDPE lockers over metal ones. The most obvious is cost. Metal lockers require a lot of maintenance and upkeep over the years, whereas HDPE lockers don’t require extensive repairs of cleaning. In a study conducted over 20 years, HDPE has been proven to not only last longer, but require less maintenance. Within two years, HDPE lockers are less expensive than metal lockers.

Because of the low cost of maintenance with HDPE lockers, you don’t have to repaint them. This has the added benefit of keeping VOCs (volatile organic compounds) emissions out of your facility’s air. HDPE lockers are also less noisy than metal lockers, without the loud clanging whenever the lockers are shut. If you’re looking for low-maintenance, cost-effective, and long-lasting lockers, then HDPE is one of your best options.

 

Want to learn more about the benefits of HDPE lockers? Read The Ultimate Guide to HDPE Plastic Lockers, courtesy of 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.