By Professor Neil Bacon, Medical Director and CEO of JVS Health, developers of protective sanitiser GermErase offers simple, stress-free steps for schools. For more information, visit www.germerase.com
When schools re-opened at the beginning of March, teachers and students, whilst apprehensive, were glad to be back in familiar territory. However, school leadership was faced with an enormous challenge; how to coordinate a “return to normality” while protecting students and staff?
Headteachers, governors and government departments have been grappling with vast amounts of often contradictory information as to the best way forward. But keeping schools safe need not be complex. Through a few simple steps, schools can find a balance between taking necessary precautionary measures and limiting additional stress and impact on the educational experience.
Keep hands clean through safe sanitisation
We all know that we should be washing our hands with soapy water for 20 seconds after touching any potentially contaminated surface. However, we also recognise that it is unfeasible to have students running out of class to wash their hands, or queues for school toilets snaking down the corridors.
As such, protective sanitisers are crucial to maintaining hand hygiene. Schools should encourage both students and teachers to sanitise after touching shared equipment and before eating. Applying these products as frequently as optimal, though, can lead to various issues. Although alcohol-based sanitisers may be effective, they can also exacerbate dry skin, eczema and psoriasis. In some cases, they may also pose graver health risks – cases of teenagers and children ingesting alcohol gels are far more common than you may expect.
To effectively strike this balance between efficacy and safety, schools can opt for alcohol-free protective products such as GermErase. At 99.85% water, GermErase is non-irritant and non-toxic, harbouring fewer health risks. Despite this, there is no drop in efficacy – GermErase kills SARS-Cov-2, the pathogen that causes Covid-19, in under 30 seconds.
Keep surfaces clean through protective disinfectants
With communal areas such as classrooms and locker rooms shared between pupils, regular disinfection is vital. However, in order to achieve maximum efficacy, a typical disinfectant should be applied every time the surface comes into contact with someone new – highly impractical in these heavily frequented spaces.
Instead, schools should look for protective disinfectants which kill any pathogens that come into contact with the surface for a specified time period after application. GermErase protective sanitiser, for example, kills any pathogens that come into contact with the surface for 48 hours after application.
This is both more time efficient and more cost efficient, minimising the financial burden for schools implementing Covid-19 measures.
Create ventilation in communal spaces
Given that Covid-19 transmission largely occurs through respiratory droplets, it is also important to keep circulating air clean.
By improving air flow into and out of shared spaces, schools can ensure that contaminated air can exit and be replaced by fresh air. This measure alone can reduce the risk of transmission through airborne particles by up to 70%.
This does not necessitate costly air purifying devices; rather, simply open classroom doors, regularly turn on any electric fans to move air around and open any windows where possible.
Of course, mask-wearing is also important in combating airborne transmission. However, it would be naïve not to recognise the barriers in ensuring 100% consistent mask wearing – students and teachers may be exempt, and even those who aren’t will have to remove their masks when eating or drinking. This only elevates the importance of sanitising hands and surfaces, and ventilating spaces.
By taking these simple, stress-free steps, schools can find a balance between creating a safe environment to reduce transmission and reducing disruption in the learning experience. The protective sanitiser, GermErase provides a simple solution, enabling the delivery of a consistent and thorough cleaning routine so that quality teaching can remain the priority.