The importance of thorough cleaning and disinfection for school premises is nothing new. Although the Covid-19 pandemic may have highlighted how effectively viruses and illnesses can spread in school environments, schools have been combatting the spread of bugs and viruses in classrooms for many years.
Children spread viruses and bacteria incredibly easily, particularly in school environments where they are in close contact with up to 30 other children in a classroom every day. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic this was further exacerbated by sharing desks, toys and other items. As a result, regular deep cleaning and disinfecting in schools has for a long time been vital.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, however, this same level of disinfection has become a priority for all organisations with people entering premises. As a result, new technologies and new methods of disinfection have become available – which will without a doubt help with cleaning processes in schools. One of the new technologies available to schools is UV sterilising – devices that use ultraviolet light to disinfect rooms.
UV sterilisers have been around for many years, however before the Covid-19 pandemic they were primarily only available at significant five- or even six-figure price points. For this reason, they were simply unattainable for schools, and were only found in hospital environments where they were crucial. Since the pandemic began, however the opportunities and benefits of Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) or UV sterilising have become widely acknowledged, which has led to innovation in this market and the development of more affordable UV sterilising technology.
Is UV disinfection beneficial for schools?
Yes, absolutely. There are many benefits to UV disinfection, but some of the key benefits for schools are:
- UV disinfection is chemical-free. No chemicals are sprayed, so there are no chemical residues left on desks or other surfaces. This makes UV one of the safest disinfection methods for staff and students, with no impact on underlying health conditions such as asthma.
- UV disinfection is quick and effortless. There is little to no manual labour involved in using a UV steriliser – simply turn on the device and leave the room; the steriliser will do all the work. As soon as disinfection is completed, the room is safe to enter and use.
- UV disinfection can be done as frequently as required. There’s no need to book a disinfection service at a time that suits the service provider, or to make plans for airing out classrooms after disinfection. Classrooms, hallways and bathrooms can be sterilised every evening after children have gone home, if desired, so that classrooms are disinfected for the following day. If a child falls ill (whether Covid-19 or any other virus or bug), the room can immediately be sterilised once all people in the room are removed – minimising the risk of infection to others using the classroom.
- UV sterilising is cost-effective. Although the cost of purchasing a UV disinfection device may be significant at the outset, the lifetime value of the machine makes it worth the cost. If we consider the cost of arranging monthly fogging disinfection services, for example, a school may well spend the same amount of money on a year’s worth of fogging where for the same spend they could have daily disinfection for 3+ years using an ultraviolet steriliser. Furthermore, some UV sterilisers are available for purchase with finance options, spreading the cost over a number of months.
It’s clear to see the value of UV disinfection for schools, and these benefits will remain even beyond the Covid-19 pandemic. Children will continue to catch and spread colds, flus and stomach bugs, making this hospital-grade disinfection technology a wise choice for schools to help combat the spread of viruses; protecting students and staff.
If you’re considering different methods of disinfection for your school or organisation, you may find our earlier blog post useful: Comparing Sterilising Methods for Organisations. This blog post evaluates the pros and cons of the three core disinfection methods available – Fogging, UV and Ozone.