Teamwork: An Essential School Cleaning Strategy

Posted On Wednesday October 14, 2020
Allan Bancroft
Allan Bancroft, custodian at NorKam Senior Secondary, says keeping everyone safe is the bottom line.

Staff, teachers and students are showing how teamwork is essential to keeping schools clean during the pandemic.

Teamwork and Support

There has been a shift in the way students and staff move through their day. District Manager Allen Blohm said there has been a big change in student behaviour, particularly among grade 11 and 12 students.

“Hallways are not busy. With multiple entrances, staggered breaks, no locker use and the shutdown of gathering spaces like cafeterias, there are no crowds of students in the hallways,” said Allen Blohm, District Manager of Operations. “This is even true in schools with large populations of students, like NorKam.”

The focus on cleaning high touch points at least twice a day has been a challenge in larger schools. 

“In smaller schools, our custodians are able to clean the building in 90-minute cycles, which means some of them are being cleaned up to three times a day,” he said. “In larger schools, it’s happening with the assistance of teachers and students.”

The NorKam library gets cleaned in the morning and at noon, and students are stepping up here, too.

“We have wipes that students use to wipe down their Chromebooks and work areas,” said NorKam teacher-librarian Greg Hafeli.

“I try to get to every surface twice a day as a minimum,” said Allan Bancroft, a custodian at NorKam. We have also had bus drivers coming in to help with the cleaning, to make sure the school’s 17 bathrooms get cleaned twice a day.  There are hand sanitizing stations set up and maintained at the four entrances to the building.”

“My students are really good at sanitizing,” said Jo-Anna Allen, a NorKam teacher. “They clean their tables and chairs at the end of each class and sometimes before clas. They wash their hands before class at the sinks, they use hand sanitizers, they are all wearing their masks, they stay in their groups and they stay physically distanced as much as possible. It’s good.”

“In our classroom our students no longer have access to the kitchen or the microwaves, said Deb Dillman, NorKam district resource teacher. “They have their own bathroom, and they do extra cleaning. Everything gets sprayed down several times a day.”

Only products that meet rigid criteria are approved for use in the District. The products being used are RMC Enviro Care Neutral Disinfectant and Wood Wyant Saber Vert2Go Concentrate. These products do not require any additional personnel protective equipment, and they are purchased with scent considerations such as scent free or reduced scent. There is no need for gloves, glasses or respiratory protection to be used with these products.

“I take it very seriously,” said Bancroft. “I would feel bad if anybody here got sick, so we are doing the best we can to make sure everybody’s safe. That’s the bottom line.”

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