Canyons Transportation Director Jeremy Wardle took CSD’s Back-to-School COVID-19 Action Plan to a new level as he debuted a giant, bus-sized “face mask” that he sewed himself — complete with blue pleats and loops over the bus mirrors — to gently emphasize how important it is for all of us to do our part to prevent the spread of germs.
“We’re doing everything we possibly can to ensure the safety of our students and employees through cleaning and through training,” said Wardle standing in front of a mask-clad bus as he demonstrated some of the extra precautions Canyons is putting into place for a news story that aired on ABC4Utah.
CSD buses are always kept clean and well-maintained. But new this year, drivers will take 10-15 minutes to use ozone devices to clean high-touch points, such as handrails and seat backs, between every route, every day. At night, custodians will clean all surfaces with spray guns that emit a fog of hospital-grade, food-safe disinfectant which is safer, and 50 times stronger, than household bleach. Buses will also be stocked with cleaning wipes, hand sanitizer, and spare masks for students, who, on some days may forget to bring their face coverings, which are required. All these steps, and more, are similarly being deployed inside schools to efficiently and safely disinfect classrooms, hallways, and bathrooms.
Part of this strategy involves the use of high-quality microfiber cloths that are color-coded to certain areas of the building to prevent cross-contamination, according to Canyons Custodial Grounds Coordinator Kevin Kelson. All cleaning solutions used are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Among the high-touch points being cleaned throughout the day in schools are doorknobs, light switches, and water fountains. Desktops will be cleaned in the evenings. Canyons will supply hand sanitizers, soap, and other Personal Protection Equipment, such as Plexiglas in high-traffic areas, face coverings and shields.
Schools are emptying their buildings of extra furniture to open up space and facilitate physical distancing. In addition, each school is building a safety plan taking into account the school’s size, in-person enrollments (based on information received after Online Registration), and the idiosyncrasies of their campuses. These plans will cover operational details, such as, how lunches and recess will be staggered and scheduled.
Visitors to buildings will be limited and undergo temperature checks; anyone experiencing or displaying symptoms will be asked not to enter CSD buildings. Parents will be asked to perform daily temperature checks with their children each morning, and students will be trained on proper hygiene, physical distancing and the proper use of face coverings. Additional school nurses are being hired for medical support and to work with health authorities to investigate and respond to suspected cases of the novel coronavirus.
All told, the District has spent more than $1 million on cleaning supplies and safety gear for the coming school year, and will continue to invest in measures to keep students safe and protect teachers and staff, who, like police officers, fire fighters, doctors, and nurses, are essential to the well-being of the community.
As Canyons new Superintendent Dr. Rick L. Robins stated in a letter to student households: “Resuming school is critically important. But doing so responsibly and with a focus on preventing the spread of this virus is paramount.”