Bouncing Back After COVID Outbreaks at School
With trusted organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics advocating for in-person learningthis school year, keeping schools open and safe for students and staff is a top priority. Unfortunately, no matter how good your school's infection prevention strategy and how many mitigation layers it contains, COVID-19 outbreaks and school closures are on the rise, with schools across the country temporarily shutting down as infection rates soar in their classrooms and communities.
Factors outside of your control – the increased transmission of the Delta variant, low vaccination rates in some areas, and lack of universal masking in many school and community settings have sent tens of thousands of students and staff members across more than 1,400 schools in 35 states into isolation and quarantine just as the new school year started. While you can't control many of these, fortunately, your facility's approach toward cleaning and disinfecting contaminated surfaces is within your control.
Increased cleaning and disinfection after COVID exposures
We all know by now that COVID-19 is mainly spread through the air, and the risk of getting the virus by touching a contaminated surface is generally low, so regular surface cleaning and disinfection, focusing on high-touch surfaces, is adequate under most circumstances. However, if a person suspected to be sick or someone who tested positive for COVID-19 has been in your facility, the risk of surface contamination may be higher. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends higher levels of cleaning and disinfecting in areas sick people have occupied. This is especially important if the universal and correct wearing of face masks is not in place in your school or if vaccination rates are low since the risk of transfer of germs from contaminated hands to surfaces may be especially high in these cases.
So, what should you do after someone with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case was in your school building? The short answer is – it depends on the circumstances.
Read the entire blog from Gojo here.