Heavy Duty Cleaning Equipment Called in to Protect Florida Students
As of March 17, the Florida State Board of Education has closed all schools in the state for one month. While the goal is to help protect the health of students, teachers, and staff during this crisis, that does not mean steps are not being taken to ensure the schools are clean - and most importantly - healthy when they re-open.
When it comes to cleaning, one of the state's school districts, Indian River County School District, has decided to bring in special cleaning equipment to fight against the COVID-19 outbreak. The 'heavy duty cleaning equipment,' as it is referred to are Kaivac No-Touch Cleaning® machines.
According to Ann Reiben, head of custodial services at the school district, the Kaivac systems are 'able to reach nasty, infectious grime from hard to reach areas. If they are not [cleaned and] disinfected, we're going to have many illnesses.'
She said one of her big concerns is that if a child at the school gets sick, '[then] the parents get sick, and so do the grandparents.' Making matters worse is the fact that very young children do not seem to be as impacted by the coronavirus. 'They may have it but show very few symptoms. However, they can still spread it to friends and family members.'
Asked just how soiled a school can get each day, Reiben said, 'it can get just as dirty as a city bus, a train, or an airplane after a flight. So, we want to take a proactive approach to keep [our schools and] our people healthy.'
As to using the Kaivac No-Touch Cleaning systems, Reiben says that they are utilized not only in bathrooms, but in locker rooms, and throughout the school. 'Anything that is touched daily, you want to make sure it is deep cleaned.' These machines help us accomplish this.
Reiben did not indicate if she is, or is not, using cleaning solutions or disinfectants designed for use with the no-touch system. While past tests have shown these machines can remove virtually all pathogens from a surface without the use of cleaning solutions or disinfectants, Kaivac engineers do not recommend it, especially now with the COVID-19 crisis.
Instead, the company suggests using its KaiBosh™ disinfectant. According to Matt Morrison, communications manager at Kaivac, 'The formula for KaiBosh has been deemed effective against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Maquat PD-64, the KaiBosh formula, has been added to the list of disinfectants effective against SARS-CoV-2.'
He adds that KaiBosh is made in the U.S. and that 'we are ramping up production to meet the needs of all customers.'
Along with the Kaivac machines, the school will also be using electronic misters to help disinfect surfaces as well as ATP monitoring systems to monitor cleaning effectiveness. However, Morrison suggests that surfaces be cleaned first, before the misters are used. 'This is standard best practices when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting.'
Further, custodians in the school district will be given special training not only on how to use these tools, but on how to clean high-touch surfaces throughout the schools.
'We are trying to do everything we can think of when it comes to cleaning our schools,' adds Reiben. 'We're also creating a [CIVUD-19] Task Force, to stay up-to-date on the virus and what steps our schools should take to keep everyone healthy.'
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Robert Kravitz is a former building service contractor, having owned, operated, and then sold three contract cleaning companies in Northern California.
He is the author of two books about the industry and continues to be a frequent writer for the industry.
Robert is now president of AlturaSolutions Communications, which provides communications and marketing services for organizations in the professional cleaning and building industries.