The school year just started, but those first few months can fly by. It won’t be long until students enjoy an extended holiday break, marking the midway point of the school year. While this time of year offers a reprieve for students and teachers, it also presents an opportunity for maintenance staffers and professional cleaners to tackle important projects that would otherwise be encumbered by regular activity. Even still, there’s only so much time to get these things done. Without proper planning or a detailed checklist, your school might not receive the care it needs over this holiday break, setting students and teachers off on the wrong foot for the back half of the school year.
So, while Christmas break might be several weeks away, it’s never too soon to start planning your attack for mid-year maintenance at your education facility. Let’s further explore why proper planning for the holiday break is so important and how best to go about it.
Holiday Breaks are Relatively Short
The duration of a school’s holiday break can vary from district to district and change according to the calendar year. Generally speaking, students can expect to enjoy one to two weeks off around this time, returning to school sometime in early January as the new year begins. But even the longest winter breaks are quite short compared to the two- to three-month holiday over the summer. Knowing this, those in charge of facility maintenance over Christmas breaks must strictly prioritize projects that can be completed in this narrow time frame, saving the largest projects for the summer (if possible). Pulling this off requires plenty of preparation.
Winter Weather Can Render Certain Projects Impossible
Time isn’t the only enemy facility managers face in preparation for Christmas break. Schools located further north and closer to the coast must also contend with harsh winter conditions around this time. As such, outdoor projects like power washing, exterior painting, siding repairs, etc., can’t be easily accomplished over holiday breaks. In other words, school maintenance over holiday breaks should be primarily focused on interior matters. In order to maintain this focus, however, you must stay on top of exterior maintenance when the weather allows (e.g., in the spring, summer, and early fall). Mapping out the trajectory of your school’s maintenance plan for the entire year will help you tackle the right projects at the right time without having to worry about the weather.
What Your Educational Facility Holiday Break Checklist Should Include
Keeping in mind that holiday breaks are relatively short and typically aimed at interior maintenance projects, let’s go over some key items to include on your education facility maintenance checklist.
Testing Electrical and Safety Systems
There’s no school year without functioning electricity. And just because your school kept the lights on during the first half of the year doesn’t mean it will keep them on following Christmas break. Periodically inspecting your electrical systems is imperative for regulating power usage, keeping occupants safe and comfortable, and maximizing productivity and learning outcomes. This task should be at the top of your Christmas break checklist so you have ample time to make any key adjustments, repairs, or replacements before classes resume.
Read our previous blog, “How Electrical Maintenance Can Affect Your Bottom Line,” for more on this topic.
Inspecting, Adjusting, and Repairing HVAC System Components
This item is closely linked to the previous one – after all, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems require electricity to function. Of course, HVAC systems feature much more than electrical components, such as filters, vents, ducts, condensers, and so on. Checking up on every aspect of your school’s HVAC system is imperative for maintaining and improving indoor air quality (IAQ) as well as maximizing energy efficiency. Moreover, with the cold winter on the way, you’ll need to make sure your entire building receives proper heating. Further improve your school’s IAQ by installing state-of-the-art air purifiers and IAQ monitors in classrooms. The Budd Group’s BreatheWell Program provides this service for schools and businesses.
Deep Cleaning Classrooms, Cafeterias, Hallways, and Other Spaces
Christmas break is also the perfect time to tackle a number of deep cleaning projects. Even if your school maintains strict daily building cleaning protocols, classrooms, halls, cafeterias, and other active spaces can accumulate a fair amount of filth between the start of the school year and the holidays. Focus on floors, but don’t forget to thoroughly clean high spaces (dust tends to build up there), high-touch surfaces, and oft-neglected spaces, too.
Disinfecting Key Surfaces
Proper cleaning goes a long way toward ridding surfaces of grime and germs, but disinfection is required to actually kill hazardous contaminants like viruses and bacteria. And now that most schools have returned to in-person learning (and COVID, along with the flu, continue to threaten occupants especially during the winter), disinfecting school surfaces has never been more important. The standard spray and wipe method with EPA-registered disinfectants is effective for isolated disinfection, but an extended break allows you to provide more durable disinfection solutions to your facility, such as antimicrobial barrier technology that stays on surfaces for up to 90 days per application and kills 99.9% of germs on contact.
Gearing Up for Winter Safety and Energy Efficiency
Every school has its safety hazards, but winter weather can exacerbate safety concerns by creating slick surfaces as occupants track in water and navigate icy driveways and walkways before even entering. With this in mind, your holiday break checklist should also include preparations for mitigating these safety concerns in every way possible. Some winter safety facility management measures include but are not limited to:
Keeping up with snow and ice removal on your property
Laying down waterproof mats and rugs throughout your school (especially at entrances and exits)
Fortifying insulation to maintain warmth throughout winter
Preparing to close school on days with low visibility, extreme cold, and/or significant snow and ice
Christmas Break is Coming. How Does Your School Maintenance Plan Look?
Take advantage of the comprehensive building maintenance programs The Budd Group has to offer schools and businesses. To learn more about our wide range of services, give us a call today at 800-221-8158!