All businesses need a cleaning schedule in place, even under the best of circumstances. When it comes to schools in particular, this is even more important, as kids aren’t known for being the cleanest customers or colleagues. Considering the fact they spend nine months out of the year using the space daily, it’s important to take advantage of longer breaks to deep dive into the places that aren’t always feasible to clean on a daily or weekly basis. Specifically with the coronavirus, it’s more important than ever to use the holiday breaks as a hard ‘reset’ so you can start fresh for the new years – here’s how to prepare your school accordingly.
Before the break starts
Make sure to have a communication plan with both kids and parents to help share the responsibilities among the party that makes the most sense. Especially with the coronavirus, it’s important to reduce the number of shared contact points between parties. Outline a process for the steps kids need to take prior to departing, such as cleaning the inside of their desks, lockers, or any other space they are responsible for keeping their items. This makes sure your staff has manageable spaces to work with when it comes to deep cleaning, and also eliminates the need for them to touch student objects if avoidable. Additionally, if there will be any new rules or updates to existing cleaning protocols, such as the result of learning better methods for reducing the transmission of COVID, be sure to provide those to your students and their families in writing so they know what to expect upon return.
Another important step to take before school lets out for the holidays is having your plan prepared and ready to execute. If this task is being completed by your usual janitorial staff, make sure to work with them closely to have all the anticipated work broken down by day, room, method, and provide any other information they will need to succeed. If hiring a commercial cleaner, be sure you understand what their plan is and what is and isn’t included, as well as give them any important information they need to know that might be unique to your school.
Once break begins
This is “go time” – which is why preparation is such an important step. Some breaks, like Thanksgiving, are shorter and may only allow for high priority items to be completed. Over the longer winter break, it may be possible to add in more tasks, as well as other maintenance projects, such as painting or making equipment replacements. Be sure to refer to the schedule of events, and assess each day whether or not you are on track to completing everything outlined. If your timeline is looking tight, by catching it early you can make necessary adjustments, or hire an outside team to support your efforts.
A good rule is to use a system that allows efforts to be audited, so that everyone is fully accountable for performing the work on schedule, and to the best of their abilities. In this way, if anything is neglected or if corners are cut, it will be easier to rectify and prevent in the future by working with the responsible party to make necessary corrections, or assigning the task to someone better suited for the job.
Every school’s needs are different, but by being thorough, organized, and delegating tasks as applicable, you’ll improve the chance you’re able to best service your facility – protecting the staff, teachers, and students when they return for 2021.