Over the past few years in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, schools have been the focus of attention, between periods of closure, distance learning and reopening. The main concern has been to identify measures that could ensure that everyone could safely carry out regular school activities.
In fact, there are many people, in addition to students, who perform their role within institutions and who may therefore be exposed to the risk of infection: teachers, staff, associations, external companies. That is why we at AMIL Care also work on sanitizing school environments to achieve proper sanitation in schools.
Sanitization in schools and Covid-19: what are the guidelines?
The community and dynamic nature of the school implies the need to maintain a level of hygiene and safety that is suitable for all.
There are two main tools available to school managers to guide them within the measures to be taken regarding the cleaning and sanitization of school environments, the ISS COVID-19 Report n. 25/2020 Interim recommendations on the sanitization of non-healthcare facilities in the current COVID-19 emergency: environments/surfaces in the version updated on 20 May 2021 and the guidelines (not mandatory) issued by INAIL (Management of operations of cleaning, disinfection and sanitization in school facilities), carried out under the supervision of the ISS and the Ministry of Health.
In particular, the purpose of this document shared by INAIL is to provide a basis on which to build the planning of cleaning and sanitizing activities in schools. These indications go beyond the current situation due to Covid-19, in fact, proper hygiene and sanitization of school spaces, characterized by the presence of many people, represents the starting point in the fight against infections at any time.
The normal hygiene maintenance procedures within schools are part of an ordinary cleaning regime, which takes place on a regular and fixed basis (daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly). On the other hand, when faced with emergencies, such as when a case of Covid-19 occurs on the premises, an extraordinary sanitization protocol must be activated, which is triggered if the positive person has been present on the school premises in the 7 days preceding the positive finding.
However, it is good to remember that cleaning is an essential and necessary activity for disinfection. To obtain a good level of sanitization, it is, in fact, necessary to have first carried out a correct cleaning, eliminating dust and dirt from the surfaces.
What should we do then when a positive case of Covid-19 has been in contact on the premises of the school?
- Close the areas used by the Covid-19 positive person until the extraordinary sanitization operations are completed;
- Do abundant ventilation in school, especially in the most involved areas.
- Carry out correct sanitization of rooms and surfaces, also paying attention to common areas, such as bathrooms, gym, canteen, etc.;
- After the extraordinary sanitization, continue with the ordinary cleaning and disinfection operations.
Why is sanitization in schools important?
Biological risk in schools is an element that should not be underestimated, regardless of the Covid-19 emergency. In fact, people who attend schools every day can be exposed to viruses and bacteria by inhalation, direct contact (with individuals) or indirect contact (with contaminated surfaces or objects).
The main pathologies that can spread in places with a poor state of cleanliness, hygiene, and ventilation are:
- Viral diseases (colds, flu, measles, chickenpox, childhood diseases);
- Parasitosis (pediculosis, scabies);
- Allergic pathologies (allergies from pollen, dust mites, molds).
Furthermore, let us not forget that in nurseries and kindergartens, where it is more frequent for staff to also carry out childcare activities, additional pathogens may be present, which are transmitted via the fecal-oral route and by contact with infected secretions.
The products to be used for sanitizing schools
The school buildings are characterized by environments that differ from each other in terms of intended use. Let’s think of the classrooms, but also of the staff offices, changing rooms, canteen, toilets, etc. The sanitization of schools must therefore be suitable for each of these environments through the use of specific products.
There are several substances that can be used, as stated in the INAIL guidelines for the management of cleaning, disinfection, and sanitization in school facilities. The active ingredients of disinfectants that seem to give the best results are:
- Quaternary ammonium salts;
- Hydrogen peroxide;
- Sodium hypochlorite.
For the ISS COVID-19 Report n. 25/2020 Interim recommendations on the sanitization of non-healthcare facilities in the current COVID-19 emergency: environments/surfaces sanitization treatments through the nebulization of hydrogen peroxide-based products are effective against numerous microorganisms, such as bacteria, yeasts, fungi, and viruses and have the advantage of ensuring a homogeneous diffusion in the environment, in addition to the demonstrated efficacy of the active principle.
AMIL Care and the sanitization of public use environments
AMIL Care’s focus on continuously evolving hygiene and health requirements also extends to public use environments. Indeed, today it is no longer just the healthcare sector that needs to be in line with the latest regulations on hygiene and sanitation. For this reason, AMIL Care’s offer covers several sectors, and its solutions can also respond to the needs of public use environments, such as schools.
The Teknobios and Maxibios automated dispensing devices, combined with the Sanibios and Purebios range of chemical products (both based on hydrogen peroxide, available in different concentrations) constitute a patented and certified system capable of guaranteeing a high level of sanitization.
Among the strengths of the Teknobios and Maxibios micro-nebulizer devices is the possibility of monitoring the sanitization cycles through the creation of reports, which can then be downloaded and consulted. The importance of periodic verification of the sanitization operations performed is underlined by the INAIL (National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work) guidelines cited in this article, which recommend the creation and maintenance of a register in which to record the various data relating to disinfection activity. With AMIL Care devices, this can be done easily, thanks to this monitoring function.