Every school is different, but our solution to keeping busses disinfected was right in front of us. It was a process that we were already performing in classrooms and on playgrounds.

Through a partnership with one of our vendors, we participated in a case study on misting of school buses using on-site generation (OSG), registered, non-corrosive, non-toxic cleaner/sanitizer/disinfectant as our primary product.

The objective with this device was to only mist buses, eliminating the need to physically wipe down thousands of seats, which would be near impossible. We documented the case using an ATP (adenosine triphosphate) meter, which is used to detect and measure the level of microbial contamination on surfaces before and after cleaning.

During our case study, we found that misting alone brought about a 20 percent reduction in surface contamination (measured with an ATP meter and documented by a third-party statistician). When you look at the big picture, this was a staggering number and should be considered when evaluating the overall benefits of misting.

Facility managers considering a new cleaning task can’t overlook the labor required. But what we found was that the benefits far outweighed the time. Cleaning each bus took less than two minutes and no additional full-time employees were necessary when we added busses to existing custodial tasks.

The entire 185 fleet of buses took roughly two and a half hours to mist. This is a small time-investment for a 20 percent reduction in contamination and a healthier environment for students and bus drivers.

Top that off with the reality that misting utilized less chemicals — which were also safer for workers to use — than traditional cleaning methods, and it as a win-win for the department.

By targeting school busses, cleaning departments are able to prevent pathogens from ever entering the school environment. These processes that involve green-certified chemicals will make cleaning tasks efficient and effective, while also preventing the spread of infectious diseases.

This level of cleaning not only got the buses clean and healthy for the start of each day, but using this simple disinfection technique meant busses stayed cleaner throughout the day and prevented cross-contamination of bacteria into schools. 

TONY ALMEIDA is the manager of custodial services at Elk Grove Unified School District in Elk Grove, California. He has over 30 years of experience in the custodial trades. Tony oversees 75 buildings, which includes over 6.2 million square feet of cleanable space and 270 staff members. Working in conjunction with the Maintenance and Operations Department, Tony made sure his district was the first in California to use on-site generation of electrochemically-activated solution. His department won the Green Cleaning Award for Schools and Universities Silver Award in 2017. Tony also serves as a member of Healthy Schools Campaign’s Green Clean Schools Steering Committee.

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