Cleaning is a science, not just an activity. A healthy school needs to engage in a scientific and professional cleaning process to realize its health objectives. Scientific cleaning is cleaning that maximizes measureable cleaning objectives within a given budget. It requires:
(1) Carefully defining the purpose of cleaning;
(2) Developing measurable goals or objectives to fulfill that purpose;
(3) Establishing cleaning priorities;
(4) Investigating and field testing alternative cleaning products, equipment, methods, and strategies, and
(5) Evaluating results and correcting deficiencies within a system of continuous improvement.
Cleaning, therefore, is a professional undertaking. The cleaning program example for the ABC school district reflects these principles.
Example Cleaning Program of the ABC Healthy Schools District
Purpose: The purpose of cleaning for ABC school district is to provide an indoor facility environment that is healthy for children, conducive to learning, maintains the value of school assets, and is safe for cleaning personnel.
Goals and Action Plan: The ABC school district has established the following goals and basic action plan based on the defined purpose:
• Control the spread of infectious diseases;
• Sanitize frequently touched surfaces daily;
• Insure convenient access to hand washing and hand-sanitizing devices;
• Sanitize or disinfect bathroom surfaces daily;
• Minimize harm from surface chemical residues or airborne chemicals;
• Minimize harm from airborne particles by removing them from surfaces and the environment as much as possible,
• Use non-chemically based product technologies when feasible;
• Use the lowest toxicity chemical products consistent with cleaning requirements when non-chemical technologies are not feasible;
• Use the least amount of cleaning product necessary to achieve cleaning target levels; and
• Follow proper cleaning techniques to meet this goal.
• Minimize use of pesticides to control pests;
• Minimize the toxicity of the pesticides used; and
• Minimize children and adult exposure to pesticides.
Reduce janitorial accidents, illnesses, and workers compensation claims:
• Avoid the use of hazardous products or equipment where feasible;
• Provide adequate chemical mixing equipment and emergency wash down facilities;
• Follow sound safety protocols for storing cleaning chemicals and pesticides; and
• Provide 24 hours or more of education and training annually to janitorial staff.
Maximize cleaning effectiveness with available resources:
• Establish measurable target cleaning levels for all spaces to be cleaned;
• Develop a measurement framework for measuring cleaning results;
• Evaluate cleaning performance based on measured levels achieved; and
• Take corrective actions for continuous improvement.
(Adapted with permission from Clean & Healthy Schools For Dummies.)