Four Ways to Prepare for the Start of the School Year

One of the most hectic times of year is rapidly approaching: back to school. Students, teachers and administrators alike are preparing for a new school year and the first day of class. Leading organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Environmental Protection Agency recognize the connection between health and education. Unsanitary conditions can have a negative impact not only on students’ health, but on their academic performance. Now is the perfect time for facility managers and administrators to get their buildings in pristine condition for the upcoming school year.

Here are four ways to help you prepare your school:

1. Protect Yourself and Others

Did you know that common colds are the main reason children miss school and adults miss work? Each year in the United States, there are millions of cases of the common cold. Adults have an average of two to three colds per year, and school children have even more. To prevent student and faculty members from spreading germs, make sure to post signage throughout the school encouraging everyone to practice proper hand washing techniques.

2. Go Green

Asthma affects nearly 5 million children in the United States. Harsh cleaning products can irritate lungs and lead to poor indoor air quality. Whenever possible make sure to use “green” and environmentally friendly chemicals. These products can help reduce exposure to these toxins and help minimize absenteeism.

3. Stay Educated

Pay close attention to hazard warnings and directions on product labels. Cleaning products and disinfectants often call for the use of gloves or eye protection. Ensure that custodial staff, teachers, and others who use disinfectants and sanitizers read and understand all instruction labels, as well as understand safe and appropriate use.

4. Maintain Playgrounds and Equipment

Over 200,000 children visit emergency rooms each year due to playground-related injuries. To help prevent common injuries, check to make sure that 12 inches of fillers, such as wood chips, gravel, shredded tires, or sand, completely cover the playground floor. It is also imperative to routinely check playground equipment to make sure nothing is broken or damaged that could cause injury.

Starting the school year off right begins with a clean and safe school environment. For more information on how to prepare your building for the return of students and faculty, contact GCA Services Group at