Setting K-12 School Cleaning Standards

This article was originally published by Contracting Profits.

Elementary and high school facilities across the United States pose health risks to students and staff due to the lack of a standardized approach to assessing the effectiveness of their cleaning regimen. A vast majority of facilities judge cleaning by sight, smell and even touch. But this approach is woefully inadequate in this age of MRSA, norovirus and other infectious agents that cannot be detected by the senses alone.

Realizing this serious deficiency, ISSA and the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI) entered into a joint venture, commissioning an independent body of scientists led by Dr. Richard Shaughnessy, University of Oklahoma – Tulsa, and Dr. Gene Cole, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, to perform research intended to provide three deliverables.

The first goal was to identify an objective, quantitative method of measuring cleanliness. After thoroughly reviewing various devices, the researchers concluded that ATP (adenosine triphosphate) meters are a valid, relatively simple, rapid and affordable measure of the level of cleanliness of critical interior surfaces in schools. Just as important, these devices were found to be reliable and consistent in their measurements across geographic and climatic zones.

Secondly, ISSA and CIRI tasked the researchers with producing reasonable range values for measuring levels of cleanliness in schools across three different ATP meters, representing a standardized and quantitative approach to measuring clean. With this step, “cleanliness” was defined based on ATP-RLU (relative light units) values.

Now, ISSA and CIRI will use this information to establish a practical standard and protocol that will empower schools to validate their cleaning regimen, as well as help them more efficiently allocate their limited resources for cleaning and maintenance. This protocol — the Clean Standard: K-12 — is currently under development, but is expected to be finalized by June 2013.

Read the full article here to learn more about the purpose of school cleaning standards.

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