Did your school take a big hit from a flu or cold epidemic last year? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that during last year’s flu season the influenza virus caused around 40 million illnesses, between 16 and 19 million medical office visits, around half a million hospitalizations, and somewhere between 32 and 55 thousand deaths. Some of those numbers were for the very young and elderly, but many school age children and working adults were also hit hard.
And that’s just the flu. The common cold, E. coli, norovirus, and an array of other microbial infections can send a student home or to the school nurse, leaving behind plenty of germs to infect more students and staff. The goal is not just to keep students at school but to keep them healthy and avoid an outbreak that could cost a school district tens of thousands of dollars.
Nearly 22 million school days are lost annually due to the common cold. These absences have a huge impact on student learning and growth as well as teacher efficiency. Additionally,schools are losing out on money that could be getting put back into the learning process. Ideally, schools would take a proactive approach to reducing illness through education and cleanliness. Taking things one step further would be to focus on reducing the spread of disease with passive antimicrobial technology and electrostatic sanitization.
Encouraging good health practices is time and money well spent. Good diet, regular exercise, sufficient sleep, adequate hydration – they all should be encouraged as part of a health program or class at school. Educating students on proper hygiene habits is an important step in the fight.
While health comprises more than the absence of illness, it starts there. A bacterial or viral infection acquired at school can undo progress made by an otherwise healthy student body. So, keeping the environment free of pathogenic microbes is crucial. One way to accomplish that is with a regular and stringent cleaning program that includes disinfection protocols. Finding a janitorial service that can accomplish that with professional rigor is challenging – and expensive. However, the loss of students for days, weeks, or longer, offsets that expense.
However, there is a win-win alternative to expecting your janitors to provide the protections you’re seeking. Any diligent janitorial service can remove grime and dust, but many if not most effective sanitizing or disinfectant regimens are so chemically aggressive and labor intensive that they require special protective gear and training as well as significant budgets to maintain. Even with these costly programs safely and successfully implemented, sanitized and even disinfected surfaces are quickly contaminated through normal use. The win-win approach is to let the janitors clean and let the installation of SafeHandles products take care of the antimicrobial campaign. That’s because SafeHandles work continuously to reduce the presence of illness causing microbes that can be left behind on commonly-touched surfaces starting with the front door of your school to the bathroom handles.