With the Education sector about to fully reopen there are rising concerns that not enough has been done to ensure the health and safety of students, teachers, and staff. In response many are now calling for Total Surface Protection to be mandated on all education sites. The technology works by creating a long-lasting antimicrobial/antivirus coating that can be applied onto all surfaces including tables, desks, chairs, door handles, walls and even fabrics. It is already being successfully deployed now in parts of the NHS and is effective against Coronavirus.

The COVID-19 virus is spread through airborne inhalation and surface contamination. Total Surface Protection removes one of the ways it can be spread, significantly reducing infections, helping to prevent a second wave and saving lives.

The current government rules only require enhanced cleaning on key touch points, this does not come close to providing proper protection and relies on other people remembering to do it. We already know from the Health sector that some of the most contaminated areas on large sites are the walls in corridors and staircases. These are not categorised as touch points and so are not cleaned regularly. This is a big mistake and a huge flaw in the current plans to reopen safely. When an infected person coughs or sneezes onto these surfaces the virus remains active for up to three days. As people pass each other they brush up against these surfaces contaminating themselves and further spread the virus. As the sector is about to fully reopen, we are potentially heading for an avoidable disaster. With such a high concentration of people, social distancing and the wearing of face masks will be hard to maintain and enforce, large education sites will quickly become contaminated and infection rates will rise. This not only poses a risk to students, teachers, and staff but also the wider community. As more people become infected or even just have their clothes and school bags contaminated, they will take the virus off site with them putting more people at risk. This is especially true for those caring for sick or elderly relatives.

Conventional cleaning of all surfaces was deemed to be both time and cost prohibitive. As infection rates from surface contaminations are considered to be lower than airborne inhalation, a compromise was reached to just focus on high traffic key touch points.

With a recent report from SAGE suggesting as many as 85,000 people could die this winter from COVID-19, this compromise is no longer acceptable. Everything that can be done to reduce rates of transmission and infections must be enacted now to prevent a mass second wave. Cost effective Total Surface Protection solutions now exist and should be mandated for the sector.

A case is currently being prepared to put to the Government calling for the level of protection to be raised from enhanced cleaning of key touch points to Total Surface Protection. We believe that all students deserve to be able to safely enjoy the education they paid for.

If you are a student and want to have the highest level of Total Surface Protection at your education site, you need to act now and speak up to demand it!

You can start by helping to inform other students by sharing this article, has your class got a WhatsApp group? Speak with your teachers, its in every ones interest to be protected. Contact your Student Union and the Heads of your Institution and tell them that you want to have Total Surface Protection installed on your site. All institutions have a legal duty to ensure a safe work environment. Stand up for your rights and demand Total Surface Protection for all education sites now.