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Summer K-12 Cleaning Standards And Suggestions

June 20, 2013

June and July are considered the heart of summer.

Picnics, vacations, parties and holidays — the last thought on many people’s minds is, “I wonder what’s going on at my local school?”

Yet, in the K-12 cleaning world, the summer months provide the perfect time for project cleaning and process evaluation.

Empty schools offer fewer daily cleaning challenges and distractions, and these months can be the perfect opportunity to re-think and change cleaning and maintenance goals.

In the July issue of Cleaning & Maintenance Management, we will have two feature articles that explore the present and future of cleaning processes in the K-12 market.

Setting A Standard

The first article, written by Rex Morrison, president of Process Cleaning for Health Schools (PC4HS), covers the upcoming ISSA Clean Standard for K-12 schools.

The goal of this new standard, according to the ISSA, is to provide schools with a tool that will help them objectively measure and monitor the level of cleanliness in their facilities.

By establishing a “range of clean” that can be measured using adenosine triphosphate (ATP) bioluminescence, the standard looks to scientifically inform workers about the hazards within schools with the aim of effectively reducing many infection risks.

“That is the goal: To find a safe level and hold our schools accountable to achieve it, and then to purchase tools, supplies and contract cleaning services based on this standard,” Morrison writes in the article.

Rounding Up Resources

The second feature, Surviving A Reduction Environment, was written by Kevin S. Harris, the director of maintenance and operations for the Clear Creek Independent School District in League City, Texas.

Harris notes that, as more and more K-12s are making changes to their cleaning programs aimed at reducing costs, most are actually lowering the level of clean inside the schools.

Harris recounts the changes he had to institute in his district to accomplish the same amount of cleaning and maintenance tasks using fewer resources.

From changing employee schedules to selecting services to bring in-house, his suggestions show how a facility manager can effectively handle today’s reduced budgets in the K-12 environment.

In addition, he presents the benefits he found using ISSA workloading, including the advantages of high-productivity dust mops, auto scrubbers and cordless sweepers.

Finding Answers

Together, these articles highlight two forces that seem to be at odds in the education cleaning market.

While facility managers and a growing number of business service contractors (BSCs) are expected to cut costs and maintain quality, significant standards must be set to ensure the health and safety of schools and their students.

Even though there’s no simple answer to successfully navigating a market where budgets are shrinking and expectations are rising, there are different areas where changes and improvements can be made.

Proper employee scheduling, affordable and sustainable products, improved worker safety and increased access to training are all options that can improve results while offering some relief to the bottom line.

Realizing that increased efficiencies will drive profits in the future, use the summer slowdown to evaluate your common processes.

What is working for your operation and what could be more efficient?

Take time to learn about the new Clean Standard; study its basis, requirements and advantages.

Remember, new solutions and options arrive in this rapidly-changing in the industry often.

The new product or process introduced today could be the answer to the problems that could plague tomorrow.