After a few relaxing months off, it’s time to jump back into the busy schedule of the school year. Between the hustle and bustle of all-day classes and the return of fall sports, it’s easy to forget that school also brings contagious diseases. But you don’t have to just wait around to catch this year’s flu, or worse, Covid – you can be proactive in your school’s infection prevention plan.
Why do schools often spread germs?
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools have been under a microscope as students’ immune systems aren’t fully developed and can’t fight off disease the same way adults can — especially younger children. When you put all of these immature immune systems in one building, you’re bound to see some contagious diseases going around. And let’s be honest – kids aren’t always the most hygiene conscious. They often touch their faces and cough without covering their mouths, and touch so many shared surfaces, from classroom supplies to shared gym equipment.
Returning to school also means returning to sports. Most contact sports offer the perfect opportunity for germs to spread amongst players, and shared athletic equipment can also be a breeding ground for bacteria, viruses, mold, and fungi that can sideline your players. But you don’t have to resign yourself to frequent outbreaks.
Preventing Infection in Schools
According to the CDC, 40% of school-aged children miss three or more days of school due to illnesses. We want to make sure kids are in school learning, participating in their chosen sports, and socializing with their friends, so schools should do everything in their power to prevent the spread of germs.
Some infection prevention strategies are free. For example, you can download free hand washing reminder posters to place in bathrooms and classrooms. Simple hand hygiene reminders can make a big difference during cold and flu season.
It’s also important to encourage parents to keep kids home when they’re not feeling well. As much as we want students to be at their desks and engaged in their education, they’re likely to spread their sickness to the rest of the class and their teachers. With substitute teachers in such high demand and so many students at home, this could ultimately derail an entire lesson plan.
If you have extra room in your budget, investing in lots of hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes will be worth it to disinfect hands and desks. Kids don’t want to get sick either, so they should be more willing to use the hand sanitization products you provide. For those with even larger budgets (or those who have Covid funds to spend), a larger-scale sanitizing solution is a powerful way to reduce germs and keep students healthy.
Gearing Up for Fall Sports
We’re all excited to jump back into football, cross country, volleyball, and other fall sports, but being an athlete comes with risks—whether that’s an injury or a serious illness. That’s why part of your sports conditioning and training should also include a lesson on infection prevention.
Athletes and coaches should be aware of the risks of sharing personal gear and close contact, but this is usually unavoidable in team sports. With that in mind, your team needs a strict disinfecting regimen for everything from shoulder pads to the locker room itself.
Traditional sanitizers can do the job, but they often miss spots, are tedious to work with, and deteriorate the gear. For hard-to-reach germs, like the ones lurking in athletic equipment, you’ll need a more powerful solution. Ozone sanitizers are great for disinfecting both soft and hard surfaces all at once. Using ozone, you can significantly reduce the risk of infection for all of your students while extending the life of your gear.
Prep for the New School Year
With the first day of class rapidly approaching, make sure your school is ready to fight infections and stay healthy this year. We know school budgets can be tight, but don’t worry. Your school may be eligible to purchase sanitizing equipment using COVID-19 relief funds awarded to schools.
In fact, we’ve already drafted the funding request letter for you—all you have to do is fill in your school’s name and send it to your local representative. With the funding to buy germ-killing sanitizing systems, your students and staff will be safer this school year, and for years to come.