As the United States returns to in-person learning, many pre-pandemic practices will be left behind. Here are some things you can expect from a janitorial inspection checklist once schools reopen.

2020 was a year unlike any other, but as COVID-19 cases continue to level off and decline, many state officials have set their sights on reopening plans for schools. While this is great news, it will likely mean that you’ll have to take a look at your janitorial inspection checklist for schools once more to ensure you’re doing all you can to keep your clients and your staff safe.

This exercise likely feels a little familiar by now. Most cleaning businesses had to revamp their janitorial inspection checklist templates and cleaning practices, especially for healthcare and educational facilities. Hopefully, that means you won’t have to make too many adjustments this time around, but either way, we encourage you to stay on top of local and national guidelines around such things as they continue to change every day.

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Janitorial Inspection Checklist

Here are 7 ways your janitorial inspection checklist may change in the months to come.

1. Cleaning frequency

One of the outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic is that people have come to understand how often facilities need to be cleaned to put up a fight against the spread of viruses. Previously, it might have been enough to conduct a single daily cleaning of a space and mark it as done on a janitorial inspection checklist. We all hope to get back to that standard one day, but in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic, once a day won’t cut it.

Inspections need to track the cleaning frequency of spaces throughout the day. This can be challenging since you likely won’t have cleaning staff on-site all day, and therefore it’s hard to know for sure what’s being cleaned and when. You may have to work closely with school officials and staff to develop a plan that allows for multiple daily cleanings of things like desks and chairs, lunchroom tables, gym equipment, and other high-touch surfaces where a virus can linger and find new hosts. Holding school staff accountable probably won’t fall within the realm of your business’ responsibility. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to have a check box for inspection reports that can reasonably assert that rooms get cleaned throughout the day  instead of the single cleaning each night that your company likely performs. 

2. Separate use of cleaners and disinfectants

You may not have differentiated before between cleaning and disinfecting, but that distinction has become critical with COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other regulatory agencies are very clear about how the two practices work hand-in-hand: Clean surfaces first, then disinfect. In fact, they suggest that disinfecting a surface without cleaning it first won’t work as well, if it works at all. To help ensure your staff takes these additional steps, separate the tasks to be evaluated individually on a janitorial inspection checklist.

3. Note contact time

Another quick tip regarding disinfecting: Each disinfectant has a designated “contact time” from the manufacturer, which indicates how long the chemical needs to be in contact with the surface to effectively disinfect. This is another thing worth noting during inspections. If a surface isn’t first cleaned, and then an approved disinfectant applied for the duration of the contact time mentioned on the label, you can’t be confident that a surface is safe.

4. Required postings

Who is ultimately responsible for required postings may vary significantly from state to state—and in some cases, may not be required at all—but if you’re in a state like New York that will mandate things like “Stop the Spread” signage, make sure you discuss with the school whether they’ll be responsible for that or if they’ll expect it to come from you. If it’s your responsibility, include it on a janitorial inspection checklist for education buildings.

5. Washing stations, soap, and hand sanitizer

Your cleaning staff has probably been refilling soap dispensers and generally keeping up hand-washing stations as part of their routine, but these tasks should now be on an inspection checklist if they weren’t before. Not only should all hand-washing stations be routinely cleaned multiple times a day, but your staff will need to make sure that more than enough soap is provided as well as hand sanitizers, the latter of which may not have been part of your previous responsibilities.

Hand-washing stations should also have appropriate signage for how to effectively wash hands and reduce the risk of spreading germs. With hand-washing being one of our most effective defenses against COVID-19, we suggest including it as part of a janitorial inspection checklist.

6. Cleaning and replacing equipment

At the conclusion of a job, clean and disinfect all your cleaning equipment, and, if applicable, discard it. Except for single-use disposable equipment like protective gloves, clean and disinfect even things you expect to eventually throw out to help reduce cross-contamination. This may be one of the more significant adjustments for your cleaning teams, so we highly suggest including on your inspection checklist. 

7. Contact tracing

Finally, a janitorial inspection checklist is an excellent place to make notes that can help you with any contact tracing you may be responsible for. If someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19 or who has come into contact with someone else who has, and they’ve occupied the space you’re cleaning at any point within the previous 24 hours, that should be noted as well as any additional precautions you’ve taken in that room or on that job site. If specific work was or wasn’t performed because of COVID-19 precautions, include those here, especially if you did something outside the scope of the regular contract.

In a world that’s changed more over the past year than any of us could have imagined, a checklist is more important than ever.

Need help organizing your inspection checklists or updating for COVID-19? Janitorial Manager can help! Schedule your free demo today to find out how.