District COVID-19 cleaning and disinfecting procedures

Guiding philosophy

The Queensbury Union Free School District has developed procedures to assist staff with cleaning and disinfecting school buildings during the COVID-19 pandemic. The QUFSD has been cleaning and disinfecting all of our buildings for more than 50 years. We are very experienced in this process. In general, we will clean during the school day and disinfect during the evening, with some exceptions as noted below. We have developed additional measures to maintain the health and well-being of all our students, faculty and staff. These measures are designed to remain in compliance with the New York State Education Department’s Reopening Guidance. We also incorporate the CDC’s guidance on hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting and recommendations from Warren County Public Health.

Definitions

Cleaning: the removal of germs, dirt and impurities from surfaces or objects. Cleaning works by using a detergent or cleaning solution and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. Cleaning does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers the risk of spreading infection.

Disinfection: the killing of germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfection works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfection does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

Cleaning and disinfection standards for specific surfaces and circumstances

School buses

As per Federal Motor Carrier Safety Standards, QUFSD buses will be cleaned and disinfected daily. At the completion of each bus run, designated school employees will clean the bus and disinfect the commonly touched areas of the bus. The commonly touched areas will include the handrail entering the bus, the tops, sides and backs of seats, the lower window pane and seat belts of all occupied seats. Designated staff will use New York state approved cleaning solutions to clean the bus/vehicle and then will disinfect using a 2-part bleach, 98-part water solution that has been mixed that day. The necessary PPE to be used is a face covering and nitrile (or equivalent) rubber gloves.

Common areas

These areas are to be cleaned in compliance with the CDC’s cleaning and disinfection guidelines. High touch areas will be disinfected using the district’s preferred New York state approved green disinfecting and cleaning products. Non high touch areas will be cleaned using the district’s preferred New York state approved green cleaning product.

Examples of high touch surfaces would include:

  • hallway and entry/exit door handles
  • push bars
  • water filling stations (drinking fountains will remain closed)
  • hand railings
  • bathroom sinks and fixtures.

The school district has identified the high touch surfaces in its facilities. These surfaces will be disinfected regularly and documented in an established log.

Non high touch surfaces shall be cleaned as necessary and disinfected with a New York state approved green cleaning product as and when necessary.

Classrooms

Non high touch surfaces in classrooms shall be cleaned as necessary, and disinfected on a nightly basis. Commonly touched surfaces include, but are not limited to, classroom interior door handles or knobs, sink fixtures, railings, etc. Desks that are occupied are not considered highly touched surfaces as only one person occupies a desk each block or each day. Desks and other non high touch surfaces will be cleaned using an New York state approved green cleaning solution. If classroom desks are used as an eating area, they will be cleaned using the established New York state approved cleaning solution. If a different student will be using the desk where food was consumed, the desk will be both cleaned and disinfected. Disinfection will be done with a commercially available New York state approved disinfecting solution. Faculty and staff will disinfect when necessary. Nightly disinfection will use a commercially available New York state approved disinfecting solution. Other classroom supplies and equipment will be cleaned between use by different students, or the supplies will be “quarantined” for three days. This procedure will be used for library books, as an example.

Clorox bleach wipes will be available to faculty and staff in each occupied room. If different cohorts utilize the same space, the space should be cleaned between cohorts. Faculty or staff will use the district’s preferred New York state approved green cleaning product.

Food service

When food is being served in an individual classroom and the students in that classroom are not changing spaces, those desks should be cleaned by a staff member after eating has finished. Students in grades 6-12 will be allowed to wipe desks with paper towels to help the cleaning process. Desks will be cleaned and disinfected by custodial staff at the end of the day. When food is being served in a cafeteria and the students are changing spaces, those eating surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected by the staff member after the students have finished and wiped down with a paper towel after the contact time has been observed. Students should be at a reasonable distance while the disinfection is taking place. Disinfection will be done with a commercially available New York state approved disinfecting solution. These solutions have a contact time of 3-10 minutes depending on the product being used. To care for our students with severe allergies, the cleaning of the surface they eat on is critical. Cleaning removes any residual food that could cause potential cross contamination whereas disinfection would not. Students with severe food allergies should be identified and the cleaning materials used on their tables not be intermingled with other tables/chairs cleaning products.

Isolation rooms

If an isolation room is used for suspected/symptomatic cases of COVID-19, after occupants have left the room, the room will be cleaned and disinfected using a commercially available New York state approved cleaning and disinfecting solution. Nitrile gloves (or their equivalent) will be used when dispensing the commercially available New York state approved cleaning and disinfecting solution. Cleaning and disinfecting of an exposed area for a confirmed case will follow the CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting your facility. The district will also comply with any additional recommendations from Warren County Public Health.

Restrooms

Restrooms shall be identified. Commonly touched surfaces shall be determined and listed (door handles, any sink fixtures, paper towel dispensers that require touching a handle, toilet and urinal handles, toilet seat and feminine product dispenser handles) and a cleaning schedule for restrooms shall be determined. Frequently touched surfaces in the restroom shall be cleaned and disinfected with a commercially available New York state approved cleaning or disinfecting solution. Students should not be allowed in the restroom while this cleaning and disinfection is being performed.

Cleaning and disinfecting agents

We use the following New York state approved green cleaning products: