By Nina Wyers, Marketing & Brand Director at The Floorbrite Group
Aside from the impact the public health crisis has had on the NHS, the impact on our schools and education system has also been far reaching with many challenges still ahead. As a mother of three boys myself, ranging from Primary to High School age, I sympathise with all parents and teachers, from managing the home-schooling during lockdowns to the dual classroom versus virtual teaching methods adopted during COVID isolation periods as class bubbles are compromised (I’ve had at least 7 of these), and the all-round operating of schools and colleges, having to make rapid decisions often without much information or clarification from the government. In these uncertain times, the environment in which the education sector functions is constantly changing, the rules in which they operate are constantly under review and can change at very short notice.
Though the government and education system’s best efforts were to minimalise disruption to our children’s education, the pandemic has revealed many inequalities facing schoolchildren, from inadequate internet access and lack of devices to unstable homes and food insecurity, these societal challenges have left a generation requiring varying levels of learning support.
Looking ahead, there has been talk about how to close the gaps in learning by extending the school day, creating afterschool, weekend and even summer learning programs. This may be the main challenge facing the education sector, yet they are being challenged on multiple other fronts too with the knock-on effects following these decisions being made. If learning is to be extended, how is that managed, facilitated and supported?
As a leading contractor in the cleaning industry, Floorbrite’s experience has been to support our customers with expert advice in our field so that the hygiene of their education facilities is one less area to worry about. We have found that our education sector customers’ existing and new, are looking most for flexibility and partnerships with good levels of communication that can be reactive to the ever-changing landscape. With limited budgets, they also require transparency. Previously, output specs may have been the norm, but input specifications driven by hours and budgets are now essential to manage every penny efficiently. As schools’ requirements change, so then do the shift patterns of service providers and the necessity for additional hours to ensure a complete wrap around service. These are the challenges now across many sectors, not just education.
In March 2020, we never envisaged still dealing with the upheaval of COVID-19 over a year later, however, as we are looking to the September 2021 school intake, this is clearly still the case.
Schools and Colleges should now have a clear plan. Your school may have needed to agree on additional cleaning hours to ensure professional standards are maintained and a professional cleaning contractor will have implemented infection control for harmful viruses and bacteria. Your cleaning should be being carried out at least daily and preferably twice daily in high touch point areas.
Cleaning versus disinfecting
You should be doing both. Cleaning is to scrub an area with detergent or soap and water to remove dirt, grime and surface biofilm, while disinfecting means applying a chemical to kill the residual germs and viruses that remain afterwards.
Antibacterial versus Virucidal
Understanding of the differences between disinfectants is also important. Antibacterial, virucidal or Antimicrobial? Whilst the majority believe that using an antibacterial cleaner will protect them against viruses, they would be wrong. Antibacterial disinfectants will kill bacteria and prevent the development of bacteria-induced illnesses, but they are completely ineffective against viruses. So, if you want to be sure you are using a cleaning product that is effective against viruses, always opt for a virucidal or for both, an antimicrobial cleaner and check which viruses it is effective against.
What is contact time?
Disinfectants also need to sit on a surface before they kill germs. Some disinfectants take 10 minutes, while others only about 30 seconds but once the chemical is dry, the surface can become re-contaminated immediately if exposed to a pathogen.
Coronavirus can live on surfaces like paper for approximately 3 hours, cardboard 24 hours, cloth 2 days, stainless steel and some plastics for approximately 2-3 days and glass 4 days. So how can all surfaces remain decontaminated for longer than a few minutes? There are solutions available that can do just this. Some antimicrobial solutions can remain effective for up to 30 days, but you must do your homework when sourcing the right product for you.
Whilst COVID-19 has dominated everyone’s priorities over the last year, green cleaning is still very much on the agenda. Cleaning using ordinary tap water like Tersano or pro biotic cleaners such as Evogen are just a couple to mention and have no negative impact on the environment.
Who are Tersano?
Tersano develop and manufacture devices that produce Stabilised Aqueous Ozone (SAO) – the simplest, safest, most sustainable way to clean and sanitise. Their iClean® mini is Portable and convenient, perfect for smaller sites.
The SAO technology turns ordinary tap water into a powerful natural cleaner, deodoriser and sanitiser that kills up to 99.999% of bacteria and viruses. It’s simple, it’s proven and it’s 100% safe. Accidentally get it on your skin, in your eyes, even in your mouth – you’ll be fine. It is stronger than bleach and hydrogen peroxide, yet simply reverts back to water and oxygen, so no harsh chemicals are entering our waterways or environment.
What is Evogen Professional?
Evogen Professional cleaning products are designed for the professional and commercial cleaning market; specifically, for offices, commercial spaces, hotels, kitchens and restaurants.
The Evogen Professional Range harnesses the power of nature, using Bacillus bacteria, essential oils and plant extracts to provide a pro biotic based cleaner. These products provide increased efficacy of cleaning through formulations engineered for specific soiling areas and challenges found within these markets. The result is a range of superior quality, solution specific professional cleaning products which combine unmatched performance with environmental responsibility; products which continue working long after chemical alternatives have expired.
This is the future of effective, efficient, responsible and economical cleaning; a real alternative to traditional harsh chemicals used across a wide range of industries.
The value delivered by Evogen Professional should not be underestimated. Not only is the cleaning simpler, requiring less or no mechanical action, in most cases it is required less frequently, so cleaning is quicker, easier and more effective.
The Floorbrite Group are an award-winning national provider of commercial cleaning and soft FM services. Founded nearly 50 years ago, we are a second-generation family business with over 1,600 employees, covering all sectors of industry.
If you would like to learn more about The Floorbrite Group, please visit: www.floorbrite.co.uk or call us on:
01619 723000 and speak to our team.