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Cleaning and Sanitization at Educational Institutions

While students have begun returning to educational institutions, the world has patiently watched to see if there would be an uptick in COVID cases. The opening of schools during the pandemic has been a controversial topic that has affected communities worldwide. Arguably, there has been a lot of backlash in exposing students to more virus-prone situations, especially with schools being mandatory and classes often not following the recommended social distancing guidelines. Many students and their families chose to opt-out of in-person learning when they could, but for some, that simply isn’t an option. For those who did return, cleaning, and sanitization at educational institutions have become paramount in helping put minds at ease.

As we saw from colleges across the US, many outbreaks were linked to on-campus housing, no matter how many guidelines and precautions students and staff were expected to follow. Because of asymptomatic carriers, those in educational institutions could be exposed no matter how hard the school tried to clean and disinfect. “This virus is subject to silent spreading and asymptomatic spreading, and it’s very hard to play catch catch-up,” said David Paltiel, a professor at Yale University who studies public health policy, in an interview with Advisory Board. “And so thinking that you can keep your campus safe by simply waiting until students develop symptoms before acting, I think, is a very dangerous game.” Patel suggested testing everyone every few days but acknowledged logistically, it would be hard to do. Even school-aged children aren’t as safe as we once thought. Studies show that children and young people are just as susceptible to catching the virus as adults are, putting them at a higher risk as they come into contact with hundreds of other students at school. The Australian Medical Journal released a report stating that “it is widely thought that children are much less susceptible to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection than adults and do not play a substantial role in transmission. However, emerging research suggests this perception is unfounded. Seroprevalence and contact tracing studies show children are similarly vulnerable and transmit the virus to a meaningful degree. Research suggesting otherwise is hampered by substantial bias.”

Reported by the UN's Policy Brief on Education During COVID and Beyond

But what does the closing of educational institutions mean for the young minds of the world? In a policy brief from the UN, the impact of loss of education is examined. According to the brief the COVID-19 pandemic has “created the largest disruption of education systems in history, affecting nearly 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries and all continents. Closures of schools and other learning spaces have impacted 94 per cent of the world’s student population, up to 99 per cent in low and lower-middle income countries. The crisis is exacerbating pre-existing education disparities by reducing the opportunities for many of the most vulnerable children, youth, and adults – those living in poor or rural areas, girls, refugees, persons with disabilities and forcibly displaced persons – to continue their learning.” A UNESCO report also examined the adverse consequences of school closures, highlighting issues such as interrupted learning, poor nutrition, and “increased pressure on schools and school systems that remain open.”

As we examine the impact on learning, many parents and educators are pushing for physical learning, but with updated safety measures.To combat and absolve these risks, there has to be a recognition and application of proper sanitization and cleaning at educational institutes. 

We’ve seen decreased capacities in classrooms, social distancing and more as educators get creative. But students, parents, and educators alike would still feel more peace of mind if they could see the disinfecting taking place and know that guidelines were being followed by cleaners. That’s where Tulu comes in. Our remote management system allows cleaners to have checklists sent right to their phones, while their managers or supervisors can live audit as they clean. Once spaces are cleaned and sanitized, anyone can scan a QR code to get important data about the last cleaning and even watch videos of spaces such as classrooms, cafeterias and gymnasiums being cleaned. Educational institutions may look different in the future, but a commitment to clean will give everyone peace of mind and let them focus on education.