Four Ways to Get Your School in Shape for the Upcoming Year

August is right around the corner, and so is the upcoming school year. This means new students, new curriculums, and most importantly, fresh, clean facilities. It’s the perfect time for facility managers to prepare to have every aspect of the building in tip-top shape before the first day of classes.

Here are four ways you can have your facility ready to go for the beginning of the school year:

1. Follow proper sanitation practices.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 22 million school days are lost each year due to cold viruses. It’s imperative to implement a plan for infection protection. Install and use antimicrobial soaps, automated flushing systems and hands-free towel dispensers to help prevent students and faculty from spreading germs. Use microfiber mops and towels that can remove dangerous bacteria on the ground and reduce the risk of cross-contamination between multiple surfaces.

Also make sure you sanitize doorknobs, desks, countertops, computer keyboards, faucet handles, hands-on learning items and more to prepare for student use. It’s good to follow these procedures daily. However, frequently using room air deodorizers and fumigating is not necessary or recommended. They can irritate eyes, nose, throat, and skin, causing side effects.

2. Maintain good air quality.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air quality can have a significant impact on the health and well-being of students and faculty. Additionally, indoor air pollutants and allergens related to poor cleaning practices contribute to increased respiratory and asthma symptoms, which is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism, resulting in nearly 14 million missed school days annually nationwide. However, using “green” and environmentally friendly chemicals can help reduce exposure to these toxins. To learn more about using the most effective cleaning methods to protect health and safety, check out the GCA Custom Green program.

You can also maintain good air quality by placing floor mats at all indoor entrances and high-traffic zones to prevent dirt and dust from tracking into the building. Also place mats in locker rooms and outside entryways to prevent water and debris from entering the building.

In addition, schedule A/C coil cleaning services to get rid of mold gathering in the units. These cleanings can improve the overall air quality, lower energy bills, and prolong unit life.

3. Practice safe cleaning.

Routine cleaning and disinfecting targets germs and prevents illness, but it’s also important to wear proper safety gear when cleaning – including safety goggles, dust masks, and disposable gloves. For example, gloves should always be worn to protect your hands when working with bleach solutions. Regardless of the hot summer weather, proper footwear is always necessary. Make sure to read product labels before use, paying close attention to hazard warnings and directions for safe handling. Mixing cleaners and disinfectants can also be dangerous, and may even result in serious injury or death, so be sure to check the label first to see if it is safe to do so.

Facility managers should create a chemical management program for schools to avoid chemical accidents.

4. Check and maintain school grounds and equipment.

According to the National Safety Commission, many injuries can occur on a school playground, and up to 80 percent are due to falls. Playground equipment should be properly maintained and structurally sound before the school year begins. To prevent falls and serious accidents, use soft surfaces on the playground, including rubber mats, pea gravel or even mulch.

Summer is also a great time to replace desks, windows, boilers, lockers, and roofs if necessary.

Kicking the school year off right starts with a clean and safe facility. For more information on back-to-school cleaning and safety, contact GCA Services Group at