How Austin ISD deep cleans to keep schools flu-free

FILE - Custodial staff clean during flu season (KXAN Photo/Tim Holcomb)
FILE - Custodial staff clean during flu season (KXAN Photo/Tim Holcomb)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As the flu continues to infect more people in Central Texas, Austin ISD is working to assure parents their kids’ classrooms aren’t serving as breeding grounds for the virus.

AISD custodial crews are working to keep the spread of flu germs down. Each school has its own team of several janitors. AISD Housekeeping Supervisor Linda Coronado says they’ve been trained to handle flu outbreaks and are working throughout the school day and for hours after school lets out to disinfect classrooms, libraries, cafeterias, bathrooms and hallways.

“They are cleaning and disinfecting all the touchpoints like your door knobs, your door handles, your drinking fountains,” Coronado said, adding that stair rails and even walls are also disinfected with a special industrial strength spray that kills germs that cause MRSA, pertussis and influenza.

Each student’s desk is also sprayed every night. Coronado says the heavy duty solution is left to sit on the desks for six to eight minutes before it’s wiped off, which increases its effectiveness.

Coronado adds that if the district’s nurse reports a specific class or school is struggling with flu cases, custodial crews will work to clean the infected area throughout the day, while kids are out at recess or lunch.

And, in special cases, she says, “Sometimes we approve overtime for them to do additional cleaning later into the evening.”

Coronado also adds schools are reminding students to wash their hands frequently during flu season. She says as a result, soap dispensers require more refills throughout the day.

“We certainly want to prevent any other students from getting ill,” she said. “The more cleaning, the more disinfecting that we do throughout the day, and at the end of the day, the better so that when the students come in to start the new day with their teachers, they’re coming in to a clean classroom.”

If your child is sick with a flu-like illness, CDC recommends the child be kept at home for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.

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