Guidance On Infection Control in Schools and Other Childcare Settings

Education | 13/04/2022

If there has been an outbreak of infection in a school or childcare setting, then it is vital to take action to try and stop the spread even further. This could involve taking steps such as cleaning the environment, including any toys or equipment. Cleaning schedules should also describe the activities required, and which people will be carrying them out. Cleaning standards have to be regulated, and cleaning staff should be trained with ready access to PPE. Take a look below to learn more guidance on infection control in schools and other childcare settings.

A Guide to Cleaning Schedules

Essential elements that are part of a cleaning contract should include a schedule that consists of:

  •       Daily activities
  •       Weekly activities
  •       Periodic activities

Colour-coded systems are suggested, as this ensures that everything is efficient and easy for everyone to understand. Colour-coded systems involve using different equipment for the bathrooms, kitchens and office areas. Cloths should also be washed or disposed of after use to limit the spread of infection.

Stopping the Transmission of Infection

It’s very easy for infection to transmit through faeces, blood or vomit. This should be cleaned up immediately. Cleaning staff should also be wearing PPE, to stop the spread of viruses or bacteria. Spillages should be cleaned by using a product that is a combination of disinfectant and detergent, ensuring that it is highly effective against viruses and bacteria. One way to find out if a product is good against viruses would be to check the label. Companies can only state that their product is effective against both viruses and bacteria if they have been approved by the TGA. Following the instructions of the manufacturer is very important here because over-dilution will weaken the impact of the product, leaving it less effective against bacteria and viruses. Disposable paper towels should be used to try and clean up bodily fluid and blood, as they can be disposed of immediately, stopping the spread of potential pathogens.

Toys and Equipment

It is very easy for toys to become contaminated with bacteria or viruses because they have high-touch surfaces and are passed around freely by numerous children. There should be a schedule in place to ensure that things like this are cleaned on a regular basis. If toys are to be shared, then hard toys should be made available where possible as this ensures that they can be wiped down. Playdough and modelling clay should be replaced when dirty and sandpits should be covered when not in use to stop the sand from being contaminated through animal faeces. Sand should be replaced every 4 weeks indoors, and when it is discoloured if it is outdoors. 

Enhanced Cleaning during Outbreaks

If there is a suspected outbreak of infection, then more frequent cleaning is recommended to try and reduce transmission. Regular cleaning will reduce the number of pathogens on high-touch surfaces, making it more difficult for bacteria or viruses to pass from person to person.  Particular attention should be paid to door handles as well as toilet flushes and taps as again, these are high-touch surfaces. Handrails should receive special attention, and a plan should be developed as to how the school is going to handle infection outbreaks during term time. The main reason for this is that hundreds of students could be touching these surfaces, and even with regular cleaning, it can be difficult to reduce the spread of bacteria or viruses, given the amount of contact being made. Colour-coded equipment and specialist cleaning products are again, essential here, especially in the event of a potential outbreak. This will help cleaning staff to understand which product should be used on the surface. High-touch surfaces for example may require a more potent cleaning solution, and food preparation surfaces will require a cleaning agent that can remove bacteria such as salmonella. With the right approach, it is more than possible to limit outbreaks as much as possible while also ensuring that the right protocols are put into place for the future.

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Want help stopping and controlling infection outbreaks in school? Maybe you need help finding ways to keep the school environment clean. Either way, contact our experienced team. You can contact us if you want to find out more guidance that will help you to monitor infections in a childcare setting, while also getting access to some of the finest school cleaning supplies for education-based environments.

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