FIGHTING THE FLU Feature: <em>Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 & the Flu in Schools</em>
Halosil Blog

Timely insights on whole room disinfection.

EducationDecember 8, 2020

FIGHTING THE FLU Feature: Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 & the Flu in Schools

Mediaplanet has released its 2020 FIGHTING THE FLU campaign as a supplement to USA Today, which explores the heightened risk flu season poses to vulnerable populations during the pandemic and the importance of taking preventative measures. We are pleased to join dozens of other healthcare experts, advocates, and influencers in contributing to the campaign. Check out our featured article, “The Key to Opening Schools Safely”.

This winter, over 130,000 schools across the country are preparing for a flu season like none other. While flu season annually accounts for thousands of pediatric cases, this year nearly 60 million students and 7 million teachers and administrators are simultaneously dealing with a flu epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic. With common symptoms of these illnesses overlapping—and the possibility of contracting both flu and COVID-19 at the same time—schools are challenged like never before to mitigate the risk of infection.

Halosil chairman and CFO David St. Clair sat down with Mediaplanet as part of the 2020 FIGHTING THE FLU campaign to discuss preventing infection through proper disinfection. In the discussion, he covered:

  • • The concern of spreading diseases from schools to homes
  • • The rise of whole room disinfection in schools
  • • Looking beyond the 2020-2021 flu season
Preventing the Spread of Infections

With may schools opting for a hybrid model for in-person learning, and some universities intending to bring students back to campus in the fall, there is the fear that schools may serve as a powerful vector for the spread of both COVID-19 and the flu. Although young children are often at a lower risk of mortality from both the seasonal flu and COVID-19 than older generations, there is the concern that children could expose their families—who may be in higher risk populations—to viruses.

To prevent the spread of pathogens, many schools are adopting more aggressive disinfection practices than in the past. However, simple spray and wipe disinfectants, which are commonly used in schools, have many drawbacks: they are labor intensive, must stay wet for severable minutes in order to remain effective, and miss pathogens in hard-to-reach areas. A more reliable disinfection process is needed for the 2020-2021 flu season.

Whole Room Disinfection is a Key Defense Against COVID-19 and the Flu

To combat the shortcomings of spray and wipe systems, schools are increasingly adopting whole room disinfection systems to eliminate pathogens across buildings, including classrooms, locker rooms, nurses’ offices, gymnasiums, and cafeterias. Whole room disinfection systems like the Halo Disinfection system® are capable of uniformly delivering a disinfectant via a dry fog that does not wet surfaces. The most effective disinfectants can achieve a 6-log (99.9999%) kill rate against some of the most challenging pathogen types.

From a legal perspective, whole room disinfection systems must be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Specifically, the EPA will register each disinfectant with the particular fogging machine with which it must be used. Unless the solution is registered by the EPA, it is illegal for a fogging system to make any type of kill claim. For instance, HaloMist disinfectant is registered for use with the HaloFogger® dry-fogging system. It is included on what is called “List N“, the EPA’s listing of disinfectants registered for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Promising Vaccines & the Role of Disinfection

While encouraging news pertaining to a COVID-19 vaccine has been announced in the last few weeks of 2020, inoculating a sufficient percentage of the population to have an impact on the spread of COVID-19 will be a gradual process. In particular, vaccines can face various obstacles such as the time needed to manufacture them and specific requirements for storage that may impede distribution. As such, schools should continue to adhere to CDC guidelines like wearing masks, washing hands frequently, and social distancing. In addition, implementing a proven disinfectant solution that can fight the flu and COVID-19 can go a long way toward helping schools develop better illness mitigation strategies this winter and in the year to come.

To learn more about preventative measures to mitigate the spread of disease, check out the FIGHTING THE FLU issue for insights from other healthcare experts and innovators, and view our full article here.