Battling the virus

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Battling the virus

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 16:03
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Custodians spraying, wiping down all school surfaces with cleaner, buildings in lockdown

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When classes for El Reno Public Schools resume, parents can rest assured the district has been working to help curb the possible spread of the coronavirus within its buildings.

“We already disinfect our buildings but we do not do it to the extent we are now,” said Wes Brower, the district’s Director of Operations. “We are constantly disinfecting door knobs and the high-traffic areas. Water fountains are big ones that we have to wipe down two or three times a day because kids put their mouths on the spouts.

“Now we are trying to hit every spot in the buildings that kids might touch like the walls.”

Brower said his custodial staff usually spends spring break deep-cleaning the buildings due to the flu season. However, with COVID-19 having now been reported in Canadian County, a new plan was formulated to focus directly on the virus.

The district had planned to purchase two special sprayers that put an electrostatic charge into the disinfectant. Brower said each sprayer will cost $675 plus an additional $190 for the tablets to put into the tanks.

“What we wanted to buy were sprayers that charged the particles coming out to where they would cling to any surface. What I was told was the particles would then move and cover the underside of desks, chairs and everything you sprayed it on.

“We are going to try and order two and go from there. We wanted to see if there is a remarkable difference with those and what we are doing now as far as absenteeism and sickness in our schools. If we see drastic numbers, then we will purchase more of these sprayers. I would like to have two per school,” said Brower.

Brower said the two original test sprayers are back-ordered until late June.

Until then, the district purchased 14 hand-pump sprayers the custodial staff fills with the disinfectant used to currently clean the buildings. The solution is then sprayed on surfaces and allowed to sit for a specific time. Then custodians go back over and wipe down those surfaces with disposable towels.

Brower said special care is being given to surfaces that cannot be sprayed like books and electronic items. He said those items will have to be cleaned with hand wipes.

“It’s hard to say how many man-hours we have spent on disinfecting because we already do that anyway. But all the custodians have spent most of the spring break on their normal cleaning but they have also been disinfecting everything as they go along.”

Brower said the specialized disinfecting is something that will have to be continued even when classes resume.

“The way I understand it is that we are going to have to disinfect all the time because once it’s touched, it’s infected again.”

Quick Facts on the Coronavirus

▶ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms cases in all 50 states.
▶ Oklahoma has had one death from COVID-19 as of Thursday. The state reports 44 positive tests.
▶ The CDC reports 10,442 total cases and 150 deaths with Washington state having more than 1,001 cases.