Teacher with face mask welcoming children back at school after lockdown.

As children in many states are heading back into their school buildings for the first time in more than a year, GP PRO wanted to find out how parents feel about their school’s cleaning efforts in the face of COVID-19. 

The company surveyed parents of children in grades K-12 and found that more than half of them are somewhat or very confident in how well their K-12 school is cleaned and prepared for students. That’s good news for schools preparing to re-open their doors; and it’s good news for parents, students and teachers, who can feel secure in the cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting practices taking place in their school facility. 

But, according to Julie Howard, vice president and general manager of GP PRO’s towel, skin care and air care categories and herself a parent to elementary school-aged children, there’s still room for improvement. 

“Simply put, the cleaner and more hygienic a school is, the greater the level of confidence will be among parents, students and staff,” she said. “To elevate cleanliness and hygiene, the first order of business is to review the newest cleaning and disinfecting guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration,” she said. “Next, assess restroom fixtures and consider transitioning to hygienic touchless soap, sanitizer, tissue, and towel dispensers. And don’t underestimate the importance of keeping those dispensers filled so users never run out of the products they need to maintain their personal hygiene, too.”

To further boost confidence in a school’s cleaning efforts, Howard also offered the following suggestions.

1. Seek Input

Just about everyone likes to be heard. While schools may feel their cleaning practices and protocols are above-grade, providing a platform for parents, students and staff to ask questions, raise concerns, and share suggestions will go a long way in letting all stakeholders be a part of making the school as clean and hygienic as possible and building goodwill within the school community.

2. Do One Thing

Surely there is one additional enhancement every school can make either to its cleaning program or to bring greater awareness to the work being done. One example would be designating one day a week for even deeper cleaning and disinfecting. Provide school custodians with special eye-catching shirts and masks to bring attention to the special day could also be a good idea.

3. Communicate

Visually appealing signage, floor graphics, banners, and posters at school entrances, near the office, and in the student and faculty restrooms, cafeteria and breakrooms will let school occupants know about the enhanced cleaning measures the school is taking to create a more hygienic learning environment. Parents aren’t in the schools and may find it difficult to have confidence in something they don’t know about, so be sure to inform them of elevated cleaning practices and protocols through emails, social media posts, and website content.