We live (and teach) in a different world than before. Keeping classrooms clean has always been important, but amid a pandemic, it’s a number one priority. Teachers have a lot of questions going into next school year, so for those going back in-person, we rounded up real teacher questions about classroom cleaning … and provided answers with guidance from our friends at Lysol®. Your school policies should guide and support you, but this is good information to have and share with the custodial staff.
“I’m particularly worried about my computer stations. My students usually cycle through each day. What is the best way to disinfect them between uses?”
The Centers for Disease Control recommends putting a wipeable cover on electronics. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions, but in general, you’ll want to power your devices down and then use Lysol Disinfecting Wipes on tablets, keyboards, mouses, and remote controls per use directions. Just allow them to dry and then follow up with a clean, microfiber cloth.
“I’ve been stocking up on hand sanitizer, but now I’m worried. Is it OK for kids?
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises adult supervision for children age five and under and says to keep hand sanitizer out of children’s reach. A lot of folks have stocked up on hand sanitizer during the pandemic, but it can be problematic, especially for very young children. Swallowing even a tiny amount can result in poisoning. That’s why the CDC recommends handwashing first and an at least 60% alcohol hand sanitizer only when handwashing isn’t possible.
“My students have always shared school supplies. Can I do that this year?”
When kids share supplies, they also share germs. Keep each student’s belongings in separate containers, cubbies, or areas and label if possible to avoid mix-ups. If having enough supplies for all your students is a problem, plan activities that allow your students to use different supplies at different times. This will allow you time in between uses to disinfect.
“I’m pretty sure masks will be required this fall. What’s the best way to clean them?”
According to the CDC, cloth masks should be washed after each use with laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting based on the type of cloth and according to manufacturer’s wash directions. You can use Lysol Laundry Sanitizer in pre-soak to disinfect your face mask. They can either be dried in the dryer on the highest heat setting or laid flat to dry, ideally in direct sunlight. Disposable masks should not be laundered or re-used.
“I’ve always had comfortable seating in my reading corner. Will I have to get rid of it this year?”
This year especially, your school might ask you to rethink your classroom couch. Unfortunately, those soft, comfort items are hotbeds for germs (yes, your rugs, too). Opt for furniture that’s easy to wipe down. You can still have fun stuff, but you may have to get a little creative (think: classroom ball seating).
“My students’ desks are gross already. How often should they be cleaned and disinfected?”
The CDC recommends that you practice routine cleaning of often-touched surfaces based on their frequency of use. Adults should be doing the cleaning and disinfecting. For desks, clean them with soap and warm water and follow up with a Lysol Disinfecting Wipe at least once a day (or in between uses if more than one student is using them).
“I know some places in my classroom are germ magnets? What surfaces should I make sure get extra attention?
Door handles, light switches, desks, and chairs are all items your students touch all day, every day. Be diligent with disinfecting those areas with a Lysol Disinfecting Wipe so you can help stop the spread of germs. Check out this article on the germiest places in any room for more specifics.
“I keep hearing the terms cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing used interchangeably. What’s the difference?”
Cleaning is the act of getting rid of dirt and mess where germs grow. Sanitization is the act of killing bacteria, but it doesn’t kill viruses. Disinfecting is the act of killing bacteria and germs. Classroom surfaces and objects should be cleaned with soap and warm water first and then disinfected.
Remember to put Lysol Disinfecting Wipes on your school supply list, and for resources on keeping classrooms clean and kids healthy, check out Lysol’s HERE for Healthy Schools.