If a school could think and feel, it would breathe a massive sigh of relief on the last day of classes.
For about six weeks, the hallways will be safe from pattering feet. The windows will stay smudge-free and the restrooms will start to air out. The walls are secure from shaking and loud noises.
Although regular classes are on pause for the summer, there’s no possibility the building will feel lonely. Its doors will receive summer students as well as cleaning and sanitizing crews until the new school year begins. There's much to be done with only a few weeks between terms. Here are seven easy ways to accomplish school cleaning during summer break.
Dirt and mould are waging a constant war against your school building. When left alone, the building quickly reaches unhealthy levels of dust and mildew. Insects find their way inside and standing water breeds bacteria. Some 78% of students think school cleanliness affects their health, while illness accounts for 58% of absences.
The first step to winning this fight with dust and contaminants is to create a battle plan. During the school term, caretakers keep dirt and bacteria at healthy levels with constant cleaning. However, the summer offers a unique opportunity to go deeper.
To achieve your goals, you can create a timeline. Start by listing everything that needs doing. Then, categorize items into similar groups and determine how long each should take. You can partner with a cleaning company to create the most productive and realistic schedule for the summer.
It may be tempting to schedule the most ambitious tasks first. However, professional cleaners always work from the top of a room to the bottom. In a traditional home, you start by cleaning the ceiling and finish with the floor. This approach saves time and prevents any task from being repeated.
You can apply the same approach to summer cleaning at your school. To save time and money, you could redo the school’s electricity with renewable sources before updating indoor surfaces. Begin cleaning in the top story and work your way down to prevent spreading mess back through previously cleaned areas.
Exterior work should follow the same strategy. If your building needs a new roof, schedule that for the beginning of the summer holiday. Gutter cleaning, fresh paint, and caulking can come next. Thinking from the top-down and the inside out can help you avoid costly mistakes while upgrading your building.
Unfortunately, cleaning is never really finished. Over the summer, caretakers must maintain school property with constant dusting and vacuuming. They should manage indoor temperatures to protect school equipment. Additionally, cutting the grass and other outside work will need to happen.
In addition to regular cleaning, caretakers can plan time for deep work. Consider what your school building needs this summer and prioritize those tasks while most students are away. For example, now is the perfect time to deep-clean school toilets.
Try to space out deep cleaning and repair projects so caretakers aren’t overwhelmed. You should plan them around summer classes so any loud noises aren’t distracting to students. By the end of the summer holiday, your school should be sparkling and updated from the inside out.
When water systems are in use, bacteria don’t have much chance to accumulate. However, many toilets and sinks go unused during the summer term. This makes it more likely that bacteria like Legionella pneumophila can multiply in your school water systems.
If water isn’t checked and treated before students return, it can make students ill and affect their performance during the school term. Inhaling contaminated water droplets spreads Legionnaires’ disease. It creates symptoms like the flu, including body aches, fever, and shortness of breath.
You can prevent water-borne illness at your school by cleaning and sanitizing the water system with a reputable company during the summer. Caretakers should also run water and flush the toilets frequently to prevent bacteria buildup in the plumbing.
Air quality is another focus for your school building. People spend about 80% of their time indoors, so exposure to pollution here is a cause of concern for public health. Toxins accumulate over time from building materials, fireplaces, cooking equipment, and chemically treated furniture.
Many school buildings have poor air circulation and lack filtration systems. Without any way to purify or exchange air, contamination can accumulate until it affects student health. Because air pollution is invisible, it’s hard to know your building’s air quality until you test it.
Over the summer, devise a plan to improve your school’s indoor air quality. When students breathe clean air, they can learn and perform better during the school term. The air quality will also impact students’ long-term health in your school.
Floors are the most well-used surface in your school. Over the summer, custodians should deep-clean and repair different floor surfaces. Maintained floors last longer and help prevent students from tripping, sliding, or falling on their way to class.
School flooring typically includes carpet, tile, and a hard surface material like wood for hallways and classrooms. Carpet acts as an air filtration system, capturing dust and allergens in the flooring. You should deep-clean all carpets so they’re ready to filter out new contaminants during the fall term.
Tile floors may need stripping and rewaxing before the next school year. Check hard-surface flooring like wood for any damage and make necessary repairs. Flooring should be resistant to water, offer good traction, and be easy to clean with routine maintenance.
The summer holiday also offers the perfect opportunity to update cleaning equipment. People can misplace or break cleaning supplies during the school year. Include some time in your cleaning schedule for the school caretakers to check and organize their things.
Take this opportunity to clean and reorganize the closets where the school stores cleaning supplies. Try to improve the space, ensure there’s a system for replacing items, and note any unforeseen issues. You can also reassess the term cleaning schedule to see if there’s any way to make it more cost-efficient.
You might also want to invest in more efficient cleaning equipment. For example, a new hoover machine could mean a reduced energy bill next term. Many hoovers are now bagless, making it easier than ever to be environmentally friendly while keeping your school clean and dust-free.
When students leave for the summer holiday, school buildings have just a few weeks to recover before the next term. This is the perfect opportunity for you to improve the health and safety of the building with some intentional cleaning. Follow these seven steps to complete a thorough school cleaning before the next term begins.
Start with a plan and work from the top floor down. Schedule any massive cleaning and sanitizing projects with extra time so they won’t interfere with the next term. You should check water safety and indoor air quality and make any necessary adjustments. Finally, give the school floors some love and don’t forget to update all cleaning equipment.