Page 82 - Security Today, January/February 2021
P. 82

Preparing for Flu Season
Brush up on the best practices to ensure accuracy and prevent misunderstandings
Building Health
Educational facilities and their leadership teams, along with teachers, elected officials, parents, and students them- selves know the stakes have never been higher to determine what the best plan of action might be to protect our learners and navigate the COVID-19 pan- demic. While school has been in session for a few months now, COVID-19 is not the only risk for facility management teams to focus on. While football games and the homecom- ing dance may have looked different this fall, one thing that stays consistent as the days get darker and temperatures drop is the looming cold and flu season to come.
According to a Centers for Disease and Prevention study, up to 11 percent of the pop- ulation in the United States becomes infected with the flu every year, on average. This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reduc- ing the spread of respiratory illnesses like the
flu is more important than ever. While custo- dial teams have been the first line of defense in fighting the spread of coronavirus in our schools, this flu season, they must continue to be vigilant. For optimal results, study up on the best practices listed below.
Brush Up on the Basics
The first and most important step to any flu season cleaning plan is to diligently continue with the daily routine of cleaning, disinfect- ing, and sanitizing. As the seasons shift, it’s the opportune time to audit your existing cleaning plan to ensure you have the right products, tools, and processes in place. Brushing up on the basics can help too.
It is not uncommon to see the word clean- ing used when what is meant is sanitizing, or to hear someone mistake disinfecting for sterilizing. To ensure accuracy and prevent potential misunderstandings, it’s important to note the following:
1. Cleaning usually involves using soap and water or physical techniques to remove visible debris, dirt, and dust from surfaces. It’s important to remember that cleaning should occur before disinfecting or sani- tizing surfaces.
2. Sanitizing uses chemicals to reduce the number of select bacteria on surfaces. What sanitizers don’t do, however, is kill viruses or spores like COVID-19. Sanitiz- ing is typically used on hot spots — such as lockers and doorknobs — on an ongo- ing basis as it requires a shorter dwell time than disinfecting. Sanitizer label instruc- tions should be followed to comply with the product requirements for proper solu- tion preparation, surface application, pathogen efficacy, and contact time.
3. Disinfecting uses chemicals or other means to kill germs on surfaces or objects. Disin- fecting typically requires a longer dwell time than sanitizing and is not a replacement for

   80   81   82   83   84