School districts increase cleaning protocols to let students back in classes

Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 9:39 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - With students and staff heading back to school, cleaning is an even bigger priority this year due to COVID-19.

In districts like the Eau Claire Area School District having kids in school means more cleaning, sometimes on a daily basis says Executive Director of Administration Kim Koller.

“On the days that kids are present we’ll really be focusing on high touch surfaces and one of the things that we’ve learned is just how many of our surfaces are high touch surfaces. So things from doorknobs to push pads on a door, light switches, desktops, these are all things that we’ll be cleaning multiple times a day because those are things that are touched multiple times a day,” she explained.

It's something districts have had to invest in like never before between supplies and staff, according to Augusta School District Superintendent Ryan Nelson.

“We have had to invest thousands of dollars into certainly additional staff, we’ve hired additional custodial staff, we also hired an individual to handle our virtual learning that a number of our students are participating in and then just the sheer magnitude of sanitizing and disinfecting supplies. We will have spent tens of thousands of dollars cumulatively on all of this,” he said.

In Eau Claire and Augusta, each Wednesday and weekends are designated as deep cleaning days.

“On those days we will clean every surface on the building, top to bottom, side to side. Not only wiping them down with our medical grade disinfectants but also using an electrostatic sprayer and we will spray all of the surfaces that spray is known to kill the virus within 60 seconds,” said Koller

In the Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District, classrooms will be cleaned each night and high traffic areas cleaned frequently.

All three districts agree keeping a clean, sanitized building is key to allowing students back in the classroom.

“I guess our hope is to do the best we can to prevent the spread and anything we can do to mitigate the risk of the germ transmission, disease transmission, we’re going to do everything we can to do that. If that includes additional cleaning then that’s what we’ll do,” said CFAUSD Business Manager Chad Trowbridge.

It's also not just the deep cleaning that will keep everyone safe, according to Nelson.

He says small daily cleanings will also go a long way in slowing the spread of the virus.

“One of the things that isn’t necessarily new but one of the things that’s been reiterated to us throughout this entire process is the importance of some of those basic hygiene practices that we were taught to utilize as a young kid, in terms of washing hands frequently and often,” explained Nelson.

A school year like no other will feature cleaning like no other.

Copyright 2020 WEAU. All rights reserved.

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