There are more than 130,000 K-12 schools in the U.S., according to the latest data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Reopening these schools after shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic will be challenging for a combination of reasons.
- COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, is 2-5 times more infectious than flu.
- Most children who become infected have no symptoms, or show milder symptoms than adults. Yet, recent studies show that infected children have as much or more coronavirus in their upper respiratory tracts as infected adults, increasing concern that children can readily spread the virus to adults.
- Experts believe that coronavirus spreads through person-to-person transmission in three ways: droplets and aerosols, airborne transmission and surface transmission.
- Schools were designed to support dense populations of young students, overseen by teachers, administrators and other staff who are often in high-risk COVID-19 age groups.
- Transporting students to and from school present additional risks of transmission, since students and the driver will be confined to a relatively small space.
One way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and other infectious diseases in schools, is through regular cleaning and disinfection of school facilities and buses. In our Guide to School Disinfection, we offer suggestions to plan for and implement a program to keep schools as healthy as possible.
FOUR STEPS TO CREATING A HEALTHY SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT
- Conduct Your Site Assessment
- Select Your Antimicrobial
- Design Your Delivery System
- Execute Your Plan
Artemis Bio-Solutions suggests that you follow your school’s protocols for cleaning and disinfecting, and that you consider additional resources, like those below from federal authorities, universities and trade associations.
Cleaning, Disinfection, and Hand Hygiene in Schools: A Toolkit for School Administrators, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Reopening K-12 Schools During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Prioritizing Health, Equity, and Communities (2020), The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine.
Schools for Health: Risk Reductions Strategies for Reopening Schools, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, June 2020.
COVID-19 Resources for Schools, Students, and Families, U.S. Department of Education.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 Resources, National Association of School Nurses.
School Bus Safety Resources, School Transportation News.
Epidemic Task Force, The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
COVID-19 Control and Prevention, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), United States Department of Labor.