Over the past few months, you may have heard lots of new terms around making your classroom and school COVID-secure. Terms such as ‘social distancing’, ‘antibacterial’, ‘antimicrobial’ and ‘new normal’ have been brought to the fore and are now part of everyday conversations.
In our latest blog, we discuss what these words mean, how they relate to schools and educational establishments as well as what products are available to help deliver the ‘new normal’.
Managing movement and maintaining social distancing
Social distancing, also known as physical distancing in some countries, has become a key part of our lives. Whether it’s visiting the shops, meeting friends or going to work, the need to keep your distance has never been more important.
As governments, ministries of education and schools around the world look at ways they can safely reopen to students, it is clear that some form of social distancing is going to be here for the foreseeable future.
Working closely with industry partners, we’ve recently extended our range of social distancing products for nurseries and schools. Our new lines include floor mats and directional arrows, protective screens for desks and reception areas as well as child friendly wallboards encouraging the importance of maintaining hygiene. Click here to find out more.
Understanding antimicrobials and how they help keep us safe
If you’ve been researching ways to keep children and staff safe from bacteria and viruses, you’ve probably come across the word ‘antimicrobial’. A substance that kills microorganisms, antimicrobials come in many different forms and can be grouped according to their purpose. For example, antibiotics are a medication and are used against bacteria. Antifungals, on the other hand are used to kill fungi.
Unlike antibacterial chemicals which aim to prevent the development of bacteria, antimicrobials work to prevent the spread. Whilst antimicrobials haven’t been proven to prevent the spread of COVID-19, they have been tested against viruses that are similar to it such as SARS and MRSA and have been shown to be effective.
Incorporating antimicrobial products in the classroom environment
One way antimicrobial products can be used in schools is by including antimicrobial technologies within products. An example of this is the world-famous Gratnells trays, used by the NHS in the UK. Treated with an antimicrobial additive, BioCote®, they don’t have to be constantly cleaned to ensure safety is maintained. The surfaces of the trays are inhabitable for the microorganisms the additive kills.
Antimicrobial technologies can also be incorporated within soft furnishings. Notoriously hard to clean, soft furnishings play an important part in nursery and school settings for younger children. They help create and maintain an inviting and comfortable space. Like BioCote®, SteriTouch® can be included within the weave of certain soft furnishings, meaning they benefit from the same antimicrobial effect as antimicrobial plastics. What’s more, SteriTouch® has been proven to kill 99.8% of the bacteria that causes C.difficile and MRSA as well as other bacteria.
We’ve recently expanded our range of antimicrobial products which now includes Gratnells trays and trolleys as well as a variety of soft furnishings resources. Click here to find out more.
Getting used to the ‘new normal’ way of life
With schools and educational establishments looking at ways to safely reopen in the coming weeks and months, getting used to the ‘new normal’ is going to be key. Overnight school routines and practices have changed with upheaval across the globe and people working out how to change their behaviours.
The impact of these changes is still working through, but one benefit for schools is the adaptability of their students. In the past decade alone there have been huge changes to industries, significant medical advances and, perhaps most importantly, huge development in technology. And students have had to adapt to their ever-changing world accordingly.
Whilst it may seem scary and challenging at the moment, talking to your students and helping them understand why certain changes have been made can be helpful. It may also aid the transition to place posters and information around your building, reminding students of the need to remain alert and the importance of good hand hygiene.
To help schools educate and inform, we’ve added new wallboards to our range, available to be viewed here. We’ve also created a short guide to our range of resources to help schools adapt to the COVID-19 crisis and this can be viewed here.