Area schools implementing new cleaning protocols to mitigate COVID-19

Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 7:03 PM CDT
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TOMAH, Wis. and LA CRESCENT, Min. (WEAU) - The Tomah Area School District is looking into its cleaning protocols ahead of classes returning in-person September 1.

The school says the protocols it has had for years already meet CDC guidelines and involve wiping down high-touch points in classrooms often— including tables, door knobs, switches, and dispensers.

The 13 district buildings will be deep cleaned nightly by the crew of 25 custodians.

Planning has been in the works to be prepared for the return to school for months.

“I’ve pretty much been in procurement mode since about April trying to make sure we have enough sanitizer, disinfectant, and the right kind of disinfectant,” explained Craig Spiers, director of building and grounds for Tomah Area School District. “Not only that, but looking at new technologies as they surface-- What they mean? Can we integrate them here? Do they work in our buildings and with our people?”

The district says it plans to clean bathrooms every two hours.

Cleaning protocols are a moving target with COVID-19 and the schools will adjust plans as needed.

The La Crescent-Hokah Public Schools are also implementing new cleaning protocols to fight COVID-19.

Each classroom has a plan for what needs to be cleaned with high-touch points emphasized.

Additionally, the district is spending between $200,000- $300,000 on cleaning supplies, PPE, and new equipment including a new UV light system and a disinfecting misting system.

The schools are also looking at adding one more custodian to the current eight-person team.

A plan is in place for how to clean once a student starts showing any symptoms.

“We’re going to go through and backtrack where that student was, what classes or rooms they were in, move the students out of there and then clean kind of in reverse order of where they were last to where they were earlier in the day,” said Kevin Cardille, superintendent of La Crescent-Hokah Public Schools.

Due to construction, classes start September 14 and the district says it will use those extra weeks to see what other area schools are doing and what problems have occurred.

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