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How clean are our schools?

January 19, 2017
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FACT. Your child spends more time at school than anywhere else except home.
FACT. Schools can have a major effect on children’s health.

With hundreds of children gathered in one place day after day, schools are a breeding ground for illness and the spread of disease. Any mother will attest to the fact that once her children start school, they come down with colds passed on from friends and classmates in next-to-no time. Whilst this is part of growing up and in fact helps build healthy immune systems, it is necessary for us to be aware of the health risks at our schools.

• 1 in 5 children under the age of 18 has a chronic illness
• Chronic Health Conditions require more than routine health services
• Asthma is one of the most common chronic conditions and is a leading cause of school absenteeism
• Chronic school absenteeism (10% or more of the days of the school term) leads to problems with social interaction as these children are more likely to fall behind on their work and disengage socially as a result.

The key areas of concern at schools are:
• Communal toilets
• Kitchens and other places where food is prepared or sold

Generally, schools either outsource specialist hygiene and cleaning services or have dedicated staff members who are responsible for the upkeep of the public facilities. School administrators and Governing Body members should be asking the following questions:

• Are our restrooms visibly dirty?
• Are our restrooms fixtures and floors stained with urine, mould or grime?
• Do our restrooms have a bad odour?
• How much do we currently spend on restroom products? And can we reduce these costs and save some money here?
• Are we carrying and managing an inventory of restroom products, especially paper and soap?
• Do our restrooms portray the same positive image as the rest of our business?
How would reduced absenteeism impact the school exam results?

We trust that the 2017 school year is off to a good start and look forward to working closely with schools across the country. Look out for our signage at a school near you.

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