In March 2020, at the start of the pandemic, the Florida State Board of Education closed all schools in the state for one month. The goal was to help protect the health of students, teachers, and staff during the crisis. However, that doesn’t mean schools didn’t take steps to ensure the schools were clean and healthy when they re-opened.
One of the state’s school districts, Indian River County School District, decided to bring in special cleaning equipment to fight against the COVID-19 outbreak. The ‘heavy duty cleaning equipment,’ was 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.’
Reiben said in a single day that a school 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 clean schools and keep [our schools and] our people healthy.’
Reiben says that they don’t only utilize Kaivac No-Touch Cleaning systems in bathrooms. They also use them in locker rooms, and throughout the school. ‘You want to make sure anything that is touched daily is deep cleaned.’ These machines help us accomplish this.
The Right Disinfectant for Student Health
Reiben did not indicate whether she uses cleaning solutions or disinfectants designed for use with the no-touch system. Tests show the machines can remove virtually all pathogens from a surface without the use of cleaning solutions or disinfectants. However, 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 is deemed effective against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19. Maquat PD-64, the KaiBosh formula, is on 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 customer needs.’
Tools to Ensure Healthy Schools
Along with the Kaivac machines, the school is also using electronic misters to help disinfect surfaces. They also use ATP monitoring systems to monitor cleaning effectiveness. However, Morrison suggests cleaning surfaces first, before using misters. ‘This is standard best practices when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting.’
Further, custodians in the school district receive 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.’