Whether it is maintaining vital services or preparing for re-starting your education business, a high level of hygiene and sanitation is essential. This is to contain the disease and pest infestation damages in order to allow activities to return to normal.
Which activities taking place after school reopens?
Kids received a series of learning programmes and activities as they returned to their school after the circuit breaker. Firstly, they will undergo various indoor learning curriculum comprising role-plays, storytelling and quizzes. Secondly, kids will take part in outdoor activities such as sports, matches or planting exercises. Thirdly, they will go for their lunch breaks and snacks time. Finally, rest and nap times allocated before they complete the day. This also means, increasing the level of interactions among a group, utilising the learning space more and subject to sanitation and housekeeping lapses, as the day gets busier.
What are the implications with resumed operations?
These activities may subject not just the kids but teachers (and indirectly parents) as they spend their day in the school. Some of the implications include:
- Surface contamination as kids have their hands on the floor, toys, books, table tops and cutleries
- Getting mosquito bites as they play outdoors, particularly when they get hot and sweaty.
- Potential food poisoning due to unsafe food consumption or unhygienic eating environment
- Spread of bed bugs among students, teachers or parents via school bags, socks or uniform
- Contracting diseases, bacteria and viruses if without optimal protection & safety measures
- Increased volume of waste, food scraps, debris, crumbs and spills as the day passes.
Potential cross contamination and pest infestation
Kids may encounter cross contamination risks
Virus transmits through saliva, mucus, blood, urine and faeces, and can cause infection by entering the body through the mouth, nose or eyes. Firstly, the virus emits from the respiratory system of infected people in droplets through talking, coughing and sneezing. Secondly, it deposits on surfaces or spread through air currents in aerosols. Thirdly, tiny droplets are small enough to float in the air. Finally, in washrooms the flushing of toilets creates a plume of contaminated particles that spread round the room, contaminating all surfaces in turn.
These viruses can remain active on different surfaces and in different environmental conditions. It can range from a few hours up to several days. Surface hygiene is, therefore, an essential part of making premises – and any surfaces that people can touch – safe for use.
As kids spent more of their time together in an enclosed learning environment, these cross contamination can increase among them. Risks get worse when they do not exercise personal hygiene. This includes washing their hands properly, using a tissue or paper towel when sneezing or coughing and disposing waste appropriately.
Schools environment subjected to cross infestation
As we open up more with resumed activities, there are more movements, engagement and activities taking place. Surrounding units and neighbouring tenants may also restart their operations during the same period. Hence, pest infestation may grow due to the following factors:
- Most garbage and waste deposited along outdoor bins or internal waste bins
- Possible pest entries with frequent entering, exiting and ventilating of the premise
- Existing pests among neighbours may invade the school for food source
- Kids, teachers or parents may have brought in pests elsewhere
- Existing pest problem that is not resolved and escalate to serious condition
Activities that affect students’ health and safety
With these activities and implications, the education centre may compromise their kids’ health and safety as a result. Firstly, there is a danger of contracting dengue fever as they spend more time outdoors with exposure to mosquitoes. Particularly if the school is located within the dengue cluster zone, this increases the risk of creating dengue cases in the school.
Secondly, with pest infestation resulting due to poor sanitation and hygiene standards will subject to food safety gaps. This means, kids may experience food contamination symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, nausea and even headache. Read more on the common health diseases caused by pest infestation.
Thirdly, some pests can be destructive in properties such as termites and rats. For example, termites work 24/7 and silently chew off the wood and structures of the school property. This also means weakening the structures, beams, panels and even ceilings, causing hazardous harm to the kids’ safety. On the other hand, rats need to gnaw in order to eat and close their mouth, as their incisors will keep growing. Hence, their act of chewing electrical wirings and conduits could result in a circuit breaker or worse scenario, fire hazard.
Finally, it is not just mosquito bites but most pests in general. Bed bugs, ticks, fleas and even ants for example bite. Bed bugs bite caused raised red bumps on the skin and are usually swelling and itchy. In severe conditions, these bits can turn into a skin rash or infection.
Have you ensured enough pest control services?
In an environment such as a school, a series of pests needs to be managed in order to create a safe learning environment for these students.
- Cockroach infestation is common in places where food and water is available. Particularly, at their eating area, kitchen, pantries and washroom. Ensure cockroach control is in place where pest control specialists will apply residual spraying at common hot spots around the school.
- There are incidents where ants are found in drinking water or crawling around tables and floors. Ant infestation is not trivial as they can cause food contamination and for some ant species, they cause painful and stinging bites.
- Rats can enter into the learning compound through tiny gaps due to their flexibility and via drainage or sewage system. Rats infestation in Singapore is particularly a constant challenge to resolve. Quality rat control with sensing technology can heighten the quality and efficacy in detection and elimination.
- Mosquito control without doubt is an essential pest management to put in place. This includes eliminating mosquito breeding source which is the start of a mosquito infestation. In addition, pest control company controls adult mosquitoes’ population through regular fogging or placement of an outdoor mosquito trap.
- Bed bugs are as the less possible pest to appear in a school. However due to their amazing hitchhiking skills and ability to spread quickly through cross infestation, bed bug infestation may occur. It is worthwhile to arrange for bed bug inspection to ensure the school is not at risk of any bed bug spread.
Did you try DIY pest remedies that do not work?
One of the easiest, convenient and most affordable pest remedies options is to seek DIY. While some of these methods do deter and repel pests to some extent, the safety of the kids should not be imposed with avoidable risks. Getting rid of cockroaches is not as simple as placing some bags of mothballs around or even the use of pandan leaves. Traditionally, pandan leaves have been a popular pest myth that is still applied by many today.
Ants on the other hand are viewed as low priority and in fact, one commonly known myth around getting rid of ants is by using chalk. The action of drawing a line or circle with chalk works temporarily by derailing the ant trial. Thus, ants will move away from the original site for a short while before returning as soon as they regain their scent trials back. This also explains why you observe recurring and returning ants thinking your ants remedies work.
Getting rid of mosquitoes is not as simple with self-help solutions. In fact, even with professional mosquito control programmes in place, eliminating mosquitoes is more challenging due to several factors. Among them are the environmental conditions and mozzie’s immunity resistance to chemicals. Leveraging on myths around using plants and essential oils do help in avoidance to some extent. Read more if these plants can repel mosquitoes naturally.
Do you arrange for regular disinfection treatment?
Besides having a sound pest control checks in place, disinfection misting and sanitisation of an environment is essential especially during this COVID-19 period.
Indoor disinfection treatments
Particularly for environments with high and active human traffic, surface contamination will occur. This results in various disease-causing pathogens that place the kids at safety risks. Diseases include the coronaviruses, influenza, E. Coli and Staphylococcus. The Rentokil’s Surface Shield treatment effectively removes 99.99% of these harmful pathogens through a misting process.
Outdoor disinfection solutions
Majority would perceive only indoor sanitisation is required. On the contrary, outdoor is as harmful and risky as the indoors. Particularly at touchpoints such as outdoor benches, playground, tables, shelves or door handles that can harbour bacteria and viruses. The Tea Tree Oil disinfection treatment is a natural disinfectant that originates from those of Manuka trees. Known for its safe and organic active ingredients, it inhibits the growth of pathogens and fungi, with no downtime or toxicity components.
Touchpoint cleaning is important for preventing the spread of infectious diseases that are spread by hand or air to surfaces and from surfaces to hands.
Poor hand hygiene is a significant cause of the spread of COVID-19 in places where people have many common touch points such as schools, care homes, offices, public transport, gyms and healthcare facilities. Some of the key surfaces include:
- Door handles and handrails
- Light switches and power point
- Remote controls
- Water taps
- Seats, desks, play pens
- School equipment (writing board, markers, copier machines)
- IT gadgets (desktops, keyboard and mouse)
- Reception and office spaces
What is the difference among cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation?
Cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation provide increasing levels of protection from pathogenic microorganisms that contaminate surfaces.
Cleaning is the removal of dirt, which can be organic or inorganic material, from surfaces using water and detergents. However, it does not kill microorganisms, but physically removes them from the surface, lowering their number and reducing the risk of infection.
Thorough cleaning is essential before disinfection and sterilisation as any material that is on surfaces can reduce the effectiveness of the procedures and result in microorganisms being left on surfaces.
Disinfection is a process to eliminate most pathogenic microorganisms. It usually requires a solution of an active chemical certified effective against the target pathogens.
Sterilisation is a process that destroys all microorganisms or within a fluid to prevent transmission of pathogens. It is largely applicable for medical purposes. Methods typically involve chemicals with a high level of germicidal activity, such as hydrogen peroxide or ethylene oxide.
- There are factors that can affect the efficacy standards including:
- Effectiveness of the cleaning done beforehand
- The amount of organic and inorganic material present
- Type and level of microbial contamination
- Concentration of and exposure time to the active chemical ingredient
- Physical nature of the object being treated, such as complex shapes and surfaces
- Presence of biofilms
- Temperature and pH of the disinfection process
Enrich your students with pest and hygiene
Incorporate personal hygiene into their learning plan
Personal hygiene and cleanliness in fact ranges from oral, nail, hand, hair, toilet and shower hygiene. For example, are they brushing their teeth sufficiently and correctly? Do they clip their nails and clean them regularly instead of biting? Are the kids keeping themselves clean by ensuring they take a shower when they reach home to rinse off any bacteria and germs they can contract in the school? More importantly, are they practicing adequate hand hygiene?
Adopt the right hand hygiene and washing steps
The first step to safeguard and protect yourself from contracting diseases through the bacteria and viruses is by washing your hands with hand soap. However, it just takes 20 seconds to wash your hands correctly through eight simple steps. Kids should be educated around when they need to wash their hands and best of all, to use a hand sanitiser for added protection:
- Before and after eating their meals
- During food handling or preparations for instance doing their sandwiches
- When they are using the washroom
- After sneezing and coughing that transmits water droplets
- Exposure around dealing with rubbish or wastes
Take proactive effort in pest prevention
Firstly, kids can be equipped with easy and fun facts of pests that they often come into contact with. By understanding their biology, their feeding habits and places they go to can help protect themselves from pest harm.
- Stay away from mozzies by keeping cool, clear off perspiration, apply a repellent and wearing light coloured clothing
- Clear their lunch boxes and food trays after meals as part of cockroach prevention efforts
- Learn to identify different pest types and their infestation signs – they can alert teachers and prevent pests from going scot-free.
- Do not place their bags and belonging on their bed when they reach home after school, to avoid bed bugs nesting in the bedroom
- Avoid provoking pests that can turn aggressive such as bees and snakes. To move away slowly and gently and call for help from the teachers
- Adopt mosquito prevention methods by eliminating any mosquito breeding source. For example, overturn pails and containers to avoid collecting stagnant water.
Call Rentokil Singapore at 6347 8138 for a pest control solution today.