For many higher ed students, the 2021/2022 school year marked the first “normal” year since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas the past two graduation seasons were either canceled or severely restricted, this spring’s graduation ceremonies will likely be a return to form for many educational institutions. This recovery is great news for students, teachers, and families all over, but it’s also a wake-up call for those staff members in charge of planning the event, overseeing its success, and cleaning up after the fact.
Packed auditoriums, arenas, and lawns warrant event planning and commercial cleaning solutions that are equally as ambitious in scope. If your school is caught off guard, it can wind up with a major mess on its hands after the fanfare has subsided. On top of that, graduation is the final major event higher ed students enjoy before starting their careers – if an institution wishes to benefit from the future donations delivered by its alumni, it must leave the best possible impression on each and every graduate. Proper planning is imperative to ensure your school’s graduation ceremony is memorable, successful, and manageable when all is said and done. These events take a great deal of coordination and communication to pull off.
Let’s go over how to prepare for cleaning and repair projects before and after the graduation ceremony at your educational facility.
Even at smaller schools, graduation ceremonies are massive undertakings. If you want to create the most welcoming space and set yourself up for an easy cleanup job following the event, you must first have a grasp of the event’s details. Going in, you should know the following:
The rough number of attendees
Available entrances and exits
Technical setups (e.g., audio, visual, music)
Timelines for rehearsals, announcements, speakers, etc.
Having this information will allow you to determine the required size of your cleaning staff, specific cleaning and repair needs prior to and after the event, how soon cleaning projects can begin, how to optimally approach cleaning and repairs, and more.
As mentioned above, higher ed graduation ceremonies require significant resources to set up and clean up. Knowing how significant your school’s pre- and post-graduation commercial cleaning job will be should allow you to determine the size of your cleaning staff. Depending on the size of your ceremony and your in-house cleaning staff, you may or may not need to hire additional cleaning and janitorial services. Keep in mind that before the ceremony you’ll need to beautify the landscape, pick up debris, sanitize restrooms, install decorations, signage, and seating arrangements, configure electrical systems, etc.; following the ceremony, you’ll need to thoroughly tear down the event setup, pick up litter and waste, clean and disinfect bathrooms, and more. All of this must be accomplished relatively quickly, too, since these facilities will still be used in the hours, days, weeks, and months following graduation.
Whether this year’s graduation will take place indoors or outdoors, thoroughly inspect surfaces for signs of damage well in advance of the ceremony. If you come across any concerns regarding a structure’s stability, make necessary repairs – otherwise, certain components might undergo further damage or otherwise break down during graduation. Taking the time to fix and touch up these elements will also improve the overall appearance of the graduation venue, boosting your school’s reputation and graduate morale.
Strong communication and organization are crucial for streamlining an event and facilitating an efficient cleanup operation after it’s over. When students, faculty, and families aren’t clear on where to go or what to do, accidents and messes are more likely to occur. Going into the event, everyone should receive clear instructions regarding behavior and what they can or cannot bring into the venue (e.g., packages, snacks, wrappers, devices, etc.). There should also be visible signs that let everyone know the locations of restrooms, exits, and trash/recycling receptacles. Some littering is inevitable at any graduation ceremony, but the clearer you are regarding trash and debris removal, the fewer items your staff will need to pick up.
In addition to facilitating cleanliness at your graduation ceremony, you should concern yourself with everyone’s health and safety. Though the flu season is coming to an end in most places and COVID-19 cases are generally lower than they were earlier in the year, large events like graduation ceremonies are hotbeds for germ transmission by their very nature. Different schools have different rules regarding social distancing, mask-wearing, and vaccination status. Regardless, you can promote personal hygiene and sanitation by placing hand sanitizer dispensers at key locations around the venue to help reduce the transmission of germs. Not everyone will make use of these stations, but many will. Simply providing the resource will reflect well on your institution and your commitment to everyone’s health and safety.
Providing hand sanitizing stations certainly can’t hurt, but these efforts alone aren’t enough to maximize health and safety outcomes during and after the graduation ceremony. If you truly want to provide the most sanitary venue for all attendees, you must thoroughly clean and disinfect the facility in its entirety, paying close attention to high-touch surfaces like doorknobs and handles, countertops, railings, faucet handles, etc. For the best outcomes, you’ll want your disinfection services to disinfect these surfaces both before and after the event. Of course, deploying standard spray and wipe disinfecting techniques is not the most efficient way to clear this long list of surfaces of germs. Antimicrobial barrier technology and electrostatic misting disinfection methods provide a faster, more effective, and longer-lasting way to keep viruses and bacteria at bay throughout your educational facilities.
In a few short weeks, students across the country will receive their diplomas, throw their caps in the air, and enter a new chapter in their lives. Such pomp and circumstance requires careful planning and placement – make sure your facility maintenance crew can handle the job. If you need a helping hand at any stage, The Budd Group offers a wide range of facility support services, including event coordination, maintenance, commercial cleaning, janitorial, construction clean-up, disinfection, and much more.
To learn more about our services and values, give us a call today at 800-221-8158! And for detailed information from the CDC regarding how to properly clean and disinfect education facilities, click here.
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