The following is a company-submitted press release and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of School Planning & Management magazine.

Cintas Offers three Tips to a Healthy School Year

A clean and healthy school can reduce student absenteeism, enhance learning environment.

Cincinnati, Ohio — Each day, roughly 55 million students and seven million staff attend U.S. public and private schools.  And each year, students miss approximately 60 million days of school due to the spread of communicable illnesses such as the cold and flu. To help prevent the spread of disease at school, Cintas Corporation (NASDAQ: CTAS) offers three tips for keeping schools clean and students healthy year-round.

“School cleaning staff play a critical role in the health and safety of students and teachers,” said Dave Mesko, Senior Director of Marketing, Cintas Corporation. “By maintaining a clean and safe learning environment, cleaning professionals can help reduce absenteeism and improve student performance and staff productivity.”

To help school cleaning staff maintain a healthy learning environment, Cintas recommends the following:

1. Implement a handwashing program. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), handwashing is one of the most effective ways to avoid sickness and reduce the spread of germs. Washing hands with soap and water is the most effective way to reduce the number of microbes and germs on hands, so it is important to teach students and staff proper handwashing procedures.

To complement a handwashing program, schools should also consider installing infection prevention tools such as automated flushing systems, hands-free towel dispensers and hand sanitizer stations. In fact, a recent study showed that the use of an alcohol-based gel hand sanitizer in the classroom can reduce absenteeism due to illness by nearly 20 percent.

2. Clean and disinfect all “hotspots.” Implement an ongoing cleaning and disinfection program for germ hotspots throughout the school. These surfaces include door handles, light switches, computer keyboards, desks, supplies and common play areas or tables.

When cleaning these high-touch areas, make sure to use separate microfiber mops and towels between zones to remove bacteria and reduce cross contamination.

3. Maintain Indoor Air Quality. Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) is a commonly cited problem contributing to absenteeism and poor school performance in educational facilities. To improve IAQ, matting should be placed at all entrances and high traffic zones throughout the school to prevent dust and dirt from being tracked into the building. To maintain fresh IAQ and clean facilities, ensure that matting is regularly laundered to remove captured debris.

To further address IAQ concerns, schedule A/C coil deep cleaning services to remove the buildup and mold that tends to accumulate. A/C units that have not been properly maintained can cause odors, trigger allergies and worsen existing asthma conditions. Regular A/C coil cleanings can improve overall IAQ, lower energy bills and extend the life of units.

“School facility managers should consider partnering with a facility services provider who can make it easier for cleaning staff to create a healthy and safe learning environment,” added Mesko. “As the school year begins, ensuring schools are clean and germ free is critical to the success of students and staff.”

To learn more about Cintas solutions for educational facilities, visit cintas.com/facilityservices.

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