Until recently, there was no standard of cleanliness for the thousands of public schools across the United States. To address this deficiency, ISSA and the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI) commissioned a group of researchers and scientists to create a comprehensive method for measuring and ranking cleanliness in schools.
The protocol has been named the Clean Standard: K-12, and provides a simple, affordable method of evaluating the cleanliness of important interior surfaces in schools.
The standard is a useful and empowering tool for schools and facilities managers. Cleaning staff will now have a way to validate and measure the cleanliness of their buildings and facilities. Understanding how clean high-use areas of a school are can contribute to the overall health and well-being of the student and staff. Having a standard to operate from, schools can identify areas that need improvement, adapt their training protocol for cleaning staff, and better discern how to dedicate budgetary resources (i.e. equipment, training, additional staff, etc.).
The Clean Standard: K-12
The Clean Standard: K-12 is focused on performance-oriented goals that include:
- Cleanliness levels that can be reasonably achieved by custodial and cleaning staff.
- Procedures recommended for monitoring and inspecting the cleanliness of a school. The standard has identified quantitative measures used in tandem with more traditional methods of judgement, like sight, touch, and smell.
- Methods for evaluating and improving cleaning practices and products based on the study’s results.
The commission took care to create an objective and practical standard that avoids favoring or recommending any specific cleaning methods or products. It focuses on the more constructive goal of achieving cleanliness levels by offering an effective system for measurement.
Creating the Standard
A broad approach to gathering input on the standard was taken. The task force wanted an accurate and comprehensive standard that reflected knowledge and experience from across the cleaning industry. Committees were formed to gather information that included service providers, cleaning supply and equipment manufacturers and distributors, select school districts, unions and the National Association of State Boards of Education, among others.
The standard is largely based on Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) meters as a measure of cleanliness on critical school surfaces that staff, students and faculty frequently come in contact with. Adenosine triphosphate is considered a superior indicator of surface soiling or cleanliness, although it does not identify specific types of bacteria that are present on a surface.
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