Renewable Cleaning at Somerset Academy - Enhancing the Learning Environment
When it comes to cleaning upscale charter schools – privately operated state-funded facilities – few people know more than Ruben Rives, principal of H2Only Renewable Cleaning and his operations consultant, Rex Morrison, founder of the non-profit Process Cleaning for Healthy Schools (PC4HS) consortium. Together, using the PC4HS model they have enhanced the indoor environment of Florida charter schools using renewable, sustainable methods, better equipment and cleaning processes.
The Somerset Academy, launched in Broward County - one of the first FL-state charter schools accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS-CASI) - is a great example, with the North Lauderdale campus serving students in PreK3 – 12th grade.
According to Rives: 'At North Lauderdale, we clean for health and see strong benefits in cleanliness, operations, workloading, indoor environmental health and management. We focus on both cleaning and infection control, using traditional and ‘chemical-free' – i.e., water only - methods in a well-defined structure.'
Tools That Enable
Besides an organized process employing time and motion studies and employee input to arrive at best practices, the North Lauderdale Renewable Cleaning program uses microfiber tools, backpack vacuums, squeegee-based flat surface tools, crossover dispense-and-vac, and autoscrubber-like units.
'Wipers and mops tend to spread contamination, while squeegee-based flat surface tools, dispense-and-vac and AutoVac units remove it,' notes Rex Morrison.
Using a water only process, Rives' crew can remove 99.9% of bacteria from desktops in less time than wiping, using a microfiber applicator to apply water and agitate, then squeegeeing off the solution.
In restrooms, the dispense-and-vac – having a compact mop-bucket-sized footprint – enables applying solution (generally just water), agitating with a brush or water pressure, then vacuuming soils, urine, germs, and moisture - leaving the surface dryer and more hygienic than traditional mop and bucket methods, with a much higher bacterial removal rate than before.
'Urine, related stains and smell can be removed easily; soil is extracted, bacteria thoroughly removed - and that's key,' said Ruben Rives. The method is better than hand mopping and needs fewer chemicals to remove soils, since the power is in the process not the chemicals, notes Morrison.
Tests in Lauderdale's hallways show the AutoVac - an affordable autoscrubber-like tool that transforms through a simple conversion of the dispense-and-vac – cleans effectively and 25% faster than an autoscrubber and 40% faster than hand mopping. In the gymnasium, it's 20% faster than an autoscrubber and 47% faster than hand mopping, early tests show.
'Charter schools can set their own policies related to healthful cleaning practices, and this has given them an edge in piloting better programs,' said Rex Morrison. The right tools enable the Renewable Cleaning process in charter schools in a well-orchestrated system. Rives and Morrison are hopeful as they see more charter schools looking to start a Renewable Cleaning program. Rives offers free phone consultations for charter schools interested in Renewable Cleaning, and reports interest nationwide.
'Somerset Academy believes…a school should be a place where students love to learn…[and] teachers love to teach…' according to the its website - www.somersetprep.com. This is evident in the results produced by the Renewable Cleaning for Health program at the Lauderdale campus.
[Note: The article is for information purposes only. Somerset Academy does not endorse products.]
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