COVID-19 on College Campuses: <em>How to Boost Your On-Campus Disinfection Strategy to Prepare for Colder Months </em>
Halosil Blog

Timely insights on whole room disinfection.

EducationNovember 6, 2020

COVID-19 on College Campuses: How to Boost Your On-Campus Disinfection Strategy to Prepare for Colder Months

Winter is approaching and administrators at many colleges and universities are preparing for the impact cold weather may have on the spread of COVID-19 and overall campus health. Now is the time that schools are making decisions in regard to next semester, and—for some institutions—are looking at reopening their campuses in a greater capacity after a partially or fully remote fall semester.

Yet, case counts remain high at academic institutions across the nation. As of November 5, the New York Times reported that 252,000+ cases of COVID-19 had been documented across 1,600+ colleges and universities throughout the U.S. Of those schools, over 50 had reported at least 1,000 cases and more than 400 had reported at least 100 cases.

In addition to concerns over the spread of COVID-19 this spring, universities also must deal with the flu—a seasonal epidemic that spreads during the fall and winter months. With COVID-19 reaching its third peak in the U.S. as flu season begins, some experts worry about the risk of co-infection with COVID-19 and the flu.

To protect students, faculty, and staff across campus, schools must enact an aggressive and intentional approach to reopening that combines social distancing, masks, and disinfection. Yet, identifying the right disinfectant and delivery method to meet the needs of academic institutions can be challenging. For schools that may be offering in-person learning in the spring semester, you should ensure your disinfection plan considers:

1. Reaching High Traffic & Shared Spaces

Start by analyzing your campus to identify all of the environments that require disinfection. In particular, consider shared spaces such as dining halls, libraries, classrooms, common rooms, and gyms where many students congregate. Frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles and elevator buttons, should be disinfected regularly in these areas.

At the same time, it is critical to also consider items like shared tablets or library books that may move locations. According to a recent study in the healthcare industry, communal medical equipment that moved from room-to-room was found to be more likely to spread the virus that causes COVID-19 than stationary surfaces, which are often cleaned more thoroughly. Learning from this example, it is critical that academic institutions enact a strategy that can reach all surfaces in high-traffic environments.

For cleaning crews, however, it is logistically infeasible that a disinfectant be manually applied to every surface in an environment like a library or school gym. As such, academic institutions require a disinfectant delivery method like a dry fogger that can reach pathogens in all of the cracks and crevices where they lurk, without leaving a sticky or wet residue that is common in spray and wipe methods.

2. Educating & Empowering Cleaning Crews

Making certain your cleaning crews and janitorial staff are educated on proper disinfection processes is crucial. Part of these initiatives must involve selecting the right disinfectant and delivery method for your team.

When choosing the right disinfectant, first check that it’s on the EPA’s List N of approved solutions for use against SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen that causes COVID-19. When narrowing down the list, it’s beneficial to next consider a disinfectant that is effective against a broad range of pathogen types. SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped virus—one of the most susceptible viruses to disinfectants. Schools should search for a disinfectant, such as HaloMist™, that is also approved for a number of other common pathogen types in academic setting like influenza and MRSA.

When choosing a delivery method, academic institutions should consider ease of use and risk of exposure for cleaning crews. For instance, disinfectants like bleach require cleaning crews to manually dilute the solution, exposing them to potentially harmful levels of the solution and risking human error in the dilution process. Other delivery methods, like UV light systems, miss pathogens in shadowed areas like under desks and tables. When paired with an EPA List N disinfectant, dry foggers (which uniformly reach all surfaces in an environment) and electrostatic sprayers (which positively charge disinfectant droplets that can then wrap around surfaces) offer the greatest coverage.

3. Remaining Feasible in the Long-Term

While promising news regarding vaccine trails presents hope for an end to the pandemic, it is important to implement a whole room disinfection strategy that can be consistently utilized until that time. As a system that can operate entirely in touchless mode, dry fogging technology like the HaloFogger provides a significant benefit over attended solutions as it decreases labor costs to operate the machine, minimizes cleaning crew contact time with potentially contaminated surfaces, and mitigates the risk that cleaning crews will miss an area.

Further still, HaloMist offers a two-year shelf life, one of the longest shelf lives of any dry fogging disinfectant. This allows schools to not only stock up in advance in the event that supply shortages return as cases rise, but also to stock disinfectant to use beyond the pandemic to fight pathogens like MRSA and influenza that are common at academic institutions.

Powerful Disinfection for Your Campus

When preparing for the spring semester and beyond, it’s critical to ensure you have a comprehensive disinfection strategy in place. For years, Halosil has worked with academic institutions ranging from primary and secondary schools to top colleges and universities to eliminate pathogens. Today, our proven HaloMist™ (EPA Reg. No. 84526-6) is being utilized around the world to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Contact Halosil today to learn more about how to improve your current disinfection strategy.