COLUMBIA, S.C. — While not every student plans to re-enter the classroom at the start of the school year, many will be opting for in-person instruction.
News 19 set out to learn more about the cleaning plans at local schools.
Before students hop on the bus for the fall semester, we learned that South Carolina public schools will be using a new tool to help disinfect.
The South Carolina Department of Education ordered electrostatic handheld sprayers which will be used at all bus hubs. The sprayers use cleaning chemicals to help disinfect surfaces.
In a video tutorial sent to us by the State Department of Education, it says the cleaning ingredient used in the sprayers is registered with the EPA to help disinfect pathogens like Norovirus, Influenza A (H1N1) and COVID-19 in just one minute.
Using this new tool will be most effective after a regular cleaning process.
Richland Two, Lexington 1, Lexington 2, Lexington 4, Lex-Rich 5, Sumter and Orangeburg schools told News 19 they will also be using the electrostatic sprayers inside the classroom.
Orangeburg district officials tell us the mist from the sprayers dries quickly, making it easy to use between class changes and between bus routes.
In addition to the sprayers, maintenance staff at local schools will receive additional training and guidelines for disinfecting and cleaning.
Sanitizing stations will also be set up around schools, and high-touch areas such as door knobs, sink handles, paper towel dispensers, and light switches will be constantly wiped down.
Here's a list of additional cleaning plans for local schools:
Kershaw County School District
- They are continuing to finalize sanitation plans working closely with their custodial provider ABM
- They will be using mist sprayers as well as other health precautions
- You can see a copy of the district's response plan here
Lexington School District One
- They're still working out specifics on their cleaning plan, but they consider this aspect of reopening as a very important task in their working group. They bought misting machines for every school and they'll be misting every classroom
- They'll have plexiglass for the first reception area, and plan for staggering arrival and dismissal times for kids and adults. At this time, they do not plan on allowing adult visitors at school
- For more information on their reopening plan, click here
- The district also put together a video on the importance of wearing a mask that you can view here
Lexington School District Two
They're still finalizing plans, but here's what they know so far:
- Over the summer and in anticipation of the start of the new year, all schools, equipment and buses are being thoroughly cleaned, disinfected and sanitized using DHEC and SDE guidelines
- They are increasing frequency of cleaning throughout the day in facilities
- Each school day, classrooms, restrooms, cafeterias, hallways, offices and other spaces in Lexington Two schools will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected prior to the arrival of students and again with the departure of staff and administrators at the end of each day
- They purchased mist sprayers for each school and for bus transportation. These disinfecting machines will be used as part of our cleaning protocols throughout the school day in facilities, as well as on buses between each route
- Playground equipment will be cleaned after each recess schedule
- Athletic facilities and equipment will be cleaned and disinfected after use
- High-touch areas such as door knobs, sink handles, paper towel dispensers, light switches and commonly used equipment will be wiped down frequently throughout the school day
- They will have cleaning and disinfectant products in classrooms
- Hand sanitizer dispensers will be placed in schools, located in high-use areas like hallways
- Bottle filling stations will be provided as an alternative to water fountains
Lexington School District Four
- They already own electrostatic sprayers and are currently using them in areas that are being utilized by staff and students
- They also have the aerosol and liquid disinfectants. Our custodians and maintenance staff are receiving additional training and guidelines for disinfecting and cleaning
- All employees will be provided with a washable mask and a face shield. Hand sanitizer will of course be readily available in all areas
- Other PPE is being identified for specific roles (ex. custodians, food service, teachers of exceptional children, etc.). They plan to follow social distancing recommendations as well
- They say they'll continue to review guidance and recommendations from CDC, DHEC, and AccelerateEd to update procedures and plans as needed.
Lexington-Richland School District 5
- School District Five officials say they're continuing to refine re-entry plans, including plans for enhanced cleaning protocols
- Protocols will include utilizing sprayers, frequent cleaning of areas of heavy traffic, and upgrades of other normal protocols
- More details can be found in their re-entry plan here.
Orangeburg County School District
- They're still developing specifics for their cleaning plan, and it should be finalized by next week
- They've ordered some of the electrostatic sprayers, which can spray large areas in a short amount of time
- They contracted with an outside agency in the event they have a large-scale concern. They contracted with the company to come in and assist them in cleaning a school quickly
- Hand sanitizer stations will be in all classrooms and strategic areas throughout the school
- They ordered masks and face shields for students, staff and faculty - on top of the masks the state is providing for each student and staff member
- They purchased sneeze guards to place in front offices or places where there could be a 1-on-1 interaction
- For all staff members and visitors, temperature check stations will be set up before people can enter the building
Richland School District Two
- Each school, center, transportation hub and administrative office will have an electrostatic sprayer that their custodial service partner, Service Solutions, will use to sanitize surfaces daily
Sumter School District
- They told News 19 in an earlier report that they plan to check campuses to make sure they're being properly sanitized and that the appropriate cleansers, like soap and sanitizer, are available to students
- As another precaution, they've ordered additional disinfectant sprayers for the middle and high schools, and ask students and staff who are feeling sick to stay home
Cleaning plans for many local districts are still being finalized.
*News 19 reached out to local districts Wednesday evening; Many officials had left for the day when we put in our request. We will update this article as we learn new details.