During normal times, the standard school year would be approaching its end (or already over) for most students in the U.S. Of course, due to the COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, school has been out for several months across many regions, and no one is entirely sure when it will resume again. This postponement doesn’t render all school buses useless, of course. These vehicles may be enlisted for various purposes both during and after the pandemic. And when students do finally return to school, most school boards, towns, counties, and states will have various guidelines and regulations for school bus cleaning and disinfection in order to ensure the health and safety of all passengers. If you want to stay ahead of the curve and navigate these uncertain times safely, here are some best practices for cleaning and commercial disinfecting your school buses and other public transit vehicles.
Standard bus cleaning protocols still apply, of course. These practices include sweeping/vacuuming the entire bus and behind/underneath all seats, wiping dashboards, gauges, consoles, windows, mirrors, etc., mopping the floors, removing gum and graffiti, and more. Professional disinfecting cleaning services should be brought in to perform deep cleaning on a scheduled basis as well. These duties include shampooing any upholstery, cleaning and waxing floors, cleaning interior light lenses, removing all dirt build-up, etc.
Due to the highly contagious nature of COVID-19, all drivers should be equipped with proper personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as EPA-registered disinfectant products for regular use.
Drivers should make an effort to disinfect the vehicle’s interior each and every day, and, if possible, after every significant use. They should also be instructed on proper cleaning and commercial disinfection methods, such as using the right products for disinfecting porous surfaces and non-porous surfaces. Professional disinfection services should also use an electrostatic machine to dispense disinfecting throughout the bus interior and cover hard to reach surfaces.
Surfaces which are frequently touched (such as handrails, steering wheels, tops of bus seats, windows, etc.) inside the bus should be the top priority for cleaning and commercial disinfection.
Drivers must pay attention to the instructed dwell time labeled on the EPA-registered disinfectants they use. These dwell times refer to the time it takes for the disinfectant to completely kill any microbes on a surface. In other words, wiping a surface too soon after spraying it may not effectively eliminate harmful pathogens.
Whenever administering chemically based cleaning solutions or disinfectants, allow for adequate ventilation (i.e. open windows and/or doors) to minimize the inhalation of toxic materials. If ventilation is limited, at least wear a mask (ideally a ventilator mask) that covers both the nose and mouth when spraying these chemicals. Professional disinfecting services will wear these when working and may be able to provide drivers with them, too.
In addition to staying on top of proper bus cleaning and commercial disinfection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend several other practices to help minimize the risk of spreading contagious diseases like COVID-19. These recommendations include:
As we continue to face this global challenge together, we must all do our part to keep ourselves and those in our communities safe and healthy. School bus drivers take safety seriously, and now is the time to apply these concerns to contagions like COVID-19. Reliable disinfection companies like The Budd Group can help schools strengthen and refine their bus cleaning and disinfection procedures. Let our experts keep you and your passengers safe. For more information regarding COVID-19 and recommendations for environmental bus cleaning and disinfection from the CDC, click here.
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