Ask the Expert: High-Performance Cleaning
Why Is Measurement Important?
- By Bill Balek
- April 1st, 2016
Absenteeism among students and staff
due to illness is staggering — kids miss 22
million schooldays a year due to the common
cold and 38 million days due to influenza.
Teacher absences cost $25 billion annually,
and the bill for substitute teachers in the U.S. is
$4 billion each year.
Chronic absenteeism is a persistent problem
and has a major impact on academic success. By
improving cleaning practices and establishing
a standard to measure cleanliness, student and
staff health is protected, academic performance
increases and schools help their bottom line.
Typical cleaning practices that rely on
visual inspection are not effective in measuring
cleanliness. Cold and flu viruses can live on
surfaces anywhere from a few seconds to 48
hours, and some bacterial can live on surfaces
for months. Germs abound on water fountains,
cafeteria trays, water faucets, keyboards and
toilet seats and are transmitted by touch.
The ISSA Clean Standard: K-12 helps
schools objectively assess the effectiveness of
their cleaning processes, contributing to the
quality of the indoor environment.
Based on the philosophy of “Clean, Measure,
Monitor” and an emphasis on high-performance
cleaning, the standard focuses on:
- The desired levels of cleanliness
- Recommended monitoring and inspection
procedures to measure effectiveness
- How to use the measurement and inspection
results to assess and improve cleaning
processes and products.
The ultimate goal is to ensure that schools
are in a condition that is clean, safe and
healthy. More importantly, the ISSA Clean
Standard calls for corrective actions in the
event the school is not achieving the desired
level of cleaning effectiveness. To learn more,
go to issa.com/cleanstandard.
This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of School Planning & Management.
Bill Balek is the director of Legislative and Environmental Services at ISSA where he oversees the association’s legislative, regulatory and environmental programs. He has over 30 years of experience in the cleaning industry. Balek is an attorney licensed to practice in Illinois, and holds an MBA in marketing from DePaul University Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. For more tips and information, visit issa.com/infectionprevention.