With nearly 22 million school days lost annually to the common cold, preventing the spread of germs depends heavily on maintaining a clean school. There are many hotspots for bacteria in a school environment, and, adding to the challenge, cold and flu viruses can live on surfaces anywhere from a few seconds to 48 hours, making these areas highly dangerous when not routinely disinfected.
We all know having a clean school promotes a healthy environment, but a clean school can also lead to student success. Consider these facts:
- Healthy students focus on success.
According to the International Sanitary Supply Association, elementary students contract eight to 10 cold or flu cases each year. Schools can decrease this number by keeping their facility clean and preventing the spread of germs. Healthy students are able to focus better at school and experience less absenteeism.
Air quality also plays an important role in maintaining a clean environment. However, according to the Department of Education, more than 20 percent of public schools in the U.S. report having unsatisfactory indoor air quality. Asthma is one of the leading causes of student absenteeism, and this condition is often triggered by poor indoor air quality. Another recent study found that students in classrooms with greater ventilation scored as much as 14 to 15 percent higher on standardized tests than those in classrooms with less ventilation. Concentration and attention span are also positively impacted by improved air quality.
- Students stay on track with less teacher absenteeism.
Clearly, teachers serve an important role in educating students—but they’re also absent an average of 5.3 days a year. A teacher who is frequently absent can have serious effects on the quality of education that a student receives over a school year. In fact, a study by Harvard researchers found that a teacher missing up to 10 days of school is equivalent to a student being taught by a novice teacher rather than one with several years of experience. Keeping schools clean can also help prevent teacher illness and absenteeism, giving students a better opportunity to stay on track with curriculum. Further, people are generally happier and more productive in a clean work environment.
- Clean schools enable districts to have more funds available for educational resources.
People often overlook the implications of a dirty school in terms of the cost to the school district. Those 5.3 days a year teachers are absent cost schools more than $25 billion annually, with an additional $4 billion spent on substitute teachers. If a school is properly cleaned, total absences decrease and much of that $29 billion can be used for educational purposes.
It is no surprise that student dropout rates and absenteeism have a direct connection. In fact, chronically absent students are 7.4 times more likely to drop out of school. Not only does this have a life-long impact on students, but dropout rates are taken into account when states issue school district “report cards.” A cleaner school can decrease student absenteeism, leading to an increased graduation rate and a higher school ranking.
We all know prevention is key, yet only 43.5% of school districts provide guidance to their schools for infectious disease prevention. This means, in large part, individual schools are shouldering the responsibility for implementing programs to provide students and staff a clean environment. However, once a program is in place, there can be great value to maintaining a clean school. To learn more about how your school can perform better with a comprehensive cleaning program, contact GCA Services Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.