Case Histories (Real-World Solutions)
Breaking the Cycle of Norovirus Transmission
The flu, strep and norovirus are all serious illnesses that can quadruple student absence rates. Routine hygiene and disinfection can help to mitigate the threat that these illnesses pose. ABM helps to promote better hygiene standards and cleaner schools to cut down on absences and create a safer learning environment.
How do you fight a triple threat of flu, strep, and norovirus that quadruples student absence rates? With a team of custodians empowered with the resources and training needed to quickly and safely enact protocols to protect learning spaces.
Hamilton County Department of Education is home to 79 schools and over 40,000 students. When monitoring triggered attention to dramatically increasing absences across the district, custodians stepped up to the next level of our disinfection process. Once ten schools showed 60 or more students out per day, a district-wide campaign was initiated to break the cycle of transmission.
Multiple disinfection methods were dialed up. Every surface in every school was fogged with an electrostatic disinfectant. Each restroom was pressure washed with disinfecting foam every night. Thorough and repeated attention to surfaces throughout each school shut down infection vectors, but that was only half the story.
Routine hygiene is also key to controlling outbreaks by shutting down person-to-person transmission, so ABM supplied extra hand sanitizers and paper towels to help school nurses and district leaders support regular hand washing.
After one of the hardest hit elementary schools saw 100 students absent over just five days, our custodian’s campaign to control the virus outbreak brought that school’s absence rate down to 15 after just one week. District-wide, one week after our custodian’s first initiative, the student absence rate for Hamilton County Schools had returned to pre-outbreak levels.
This article originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of School Planning & Management.