As the education sector takes a collective deep breath and prepares to reopen, the number one concern for everyone is the health and safety of students, teachers and staff and how best to protect them from COVID-19.
As we already know the virus is spread when someone who is infected coughs or sneezes releasing tiny droplets that can be inhaled by others or when they land on a surface it becomes contaminated. Depending on the surface the virus can last up to three days, more than enough time for someone else to touch the same contaminated surface and spread it further. If they touch their mouth or face the transfer is complete and they become infected. The main priority therefore is to practice social distancing and insure that all surfaces are disinfected.
How to effectively keep sites disinfected is proving to be a difficult challenge in other sectors. When it comes to cleaning, the Government advice is to clean and disinfect as often as possible, but with staff already stretched and many employees reluctant to return to work, how often is practical to be effective and of course with enhanced cleaning comes enhanced costs.
One science based technology solution to this problem is a patented electrostatically charged antimicrobial compound solution. It works by providing a long lasting antivirus surface protection coating onto all treated surfaces and this has already been effectively deployed within NHS Hospitals. One application remains effective for over five months, even on high traffic touch points such as door handles, table desks and chairs. The solution can be applied to all surfaces to provide total site protection. This not only saves time but also money when compared against conventional cleaning practices to achieve the same results.
The technology has already undergone independent lab and clinical test trials in the USA and has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. In fact it was used successfully against the SARS virus and other corona associated viruses.
Corona Busters Ltd (Part of the Ideal Response Group) are one of only a few contractors vetted and approved to provide COVID-19 decontamination services and this long lasting total surface protection solution for the NHS. Since the outbreak began they have been at the forefront of protecting NHS Hospitals, Private Medical Health Care Facilities and Nursing Homes. They have just completed treating and protecting The Queen Elizabeth NHS Hospital in Margate and The Ashford and St Peter’s NHS Hospital in Kent. They have recently began offering this solution to the education sector and have already treated and protected a number of schools. In a recent interview their Managing Director Wahid Ahmed explained ” we have a team of over 400 highly trained technicians that apply this compound using electrostatically charged spraying machines, the solution then binds itself on a molecular level onto all the treated surfaces. The compound contains thousands of microscopic barbs so when a virus land onto a treated surface theses barbs penetrate and rupture the cell structure of the virus killing it.” The compound was developed to deliver a mechanical kill so no harmful chemical are used, it is also non-leaching and non-dissipating so is safe to use on all surfaces around children, adults and pets. Conventional constant cleaning of all surfaces to achieve the same level of protection would be both time and cost prohibitive so it is easy to understand why the NHS have included this on their sites and how the same level of protection could be used in schools and universities. When asked about the education sector Wahid said “Schools Colleges and Universities are the next big battle ground – maintaining social distancing will be very hard so total surface protection is really important, we already know from the health sector that just focusing on key touch points in not enough. Some of the most infected area on large sites are the walls in corridors and staircases, these tend to be overlooked and are not cleaned as regularly because they are not identified as key touch points. When an infected person coughs or sneezes onto these surfaces the virus remains active for up to 3 days. As people pass each other they brush up against these surfaces contaminating themselves and further spread the virus. To prevent a second wave and save lives it is crucial to protect all surfaces”
One of the main concerns is that with such a high concentration of young people not effectively social distancing, large education sites will quickly become infected and contaminated. Children will then pick up the virus and take it home with them putting their extended families and wider communities at risk. As more parents return to work the burden of child care will inevitably fall back onto elderly relatives who are of course in the high risk category. For this reason the education sector not only has a duty of care to protect those on site but also the wider community .