While spring break may mean a tropical vacation or some time to relax and unwind at home for teachers and students, the week can be an extremely productive time for facility managers and administrators at schools.
Maintaining safe and healthy environments on campuses is a year-round job, but routine maintenance and certain upgrades can prove difficult to complete when students and staff are on campus. Spring break offers hardworking facility maintenance professionals the building vacancy they need to dedicate and tackle important tasks.
As we begin to spring forward into the new season, here are a few maintenance upgrades schools can tackle during the break:
- Review Your School’s Emergency Preparedness and Communication Plan: A break from daily school schedules with large numbers of people onsite presents an opportunity for a mid-year review of current safety protocols and to conduct a risk assessment. The Department of Homeland Security recommends a risk assessment be conducted to identify potential hazards and analyze what could happen if a hazard occurs, and the department suggests that facility managers should take time to look for vulnerabilities or weaknesses that may make an asset more susceptible to damage from a hazard, such as a fire, hurricane or intruder. With this in mind, these hazards can be mitigated by amplifying or investing in an emergency preparedness and communication strategy that can address potentially significant impacts, including casualties, property damage or environmental contamination.
- Add Visual Notifications into the School Emergency Response Plan: From everyday messaging and schedule updates to critical notifications and emergency drills, strong communication and consistent messages with students and staff are essential to keep everyone informed and safe. Facility administrators may consider adding visual notifications to their already existing bell and PA systems to help disseminate critical notifications in a timely manner. While building occupants are on break, facility mangers can install a visual notification system, such as OneVue Notify InfoBoards, to help administers bring a visual element to their cross-campus communication strategy.
- Inspect Facilities for Environmental Risks and Take Preventative Measures: The International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health indicates that relative humidity for facilities should be maintained between 40% and 60% to sustain the health of building occupants. Low humidity levels can encourage the spread of certain illnesses, especially in crowded classrooms, whereas facilities with too high of humidity levels can leave extra water in the air and lead to growth of bacteria, mold and dust mites. Given the drastic range of issues improper humidity levels can cause, spring break is an ideal time for facilities managers to install integrated technology, such as OneVue Sense Temperature and Humidity Sensors, to assess humidity levels in their schools and detect abnormal environmental factors before they become problems.
- Deep Clean School Facilities: With flu season tapering off in early spring, the school break presents a prime opportunity for a thorough cleaning of all classrooms, restrooms, cafeterias and other common spaces. While these areas may be cleaned daily and wiped down weekly during the school year, a mid-year deep clean with fewer people on campus ensures areas are disinfected, deodorized and well-maintained, providing students and staff a sanitary, healthy environment upon their return.
As school administrators, teachers and students begin the home stretch of the school year, spring break offers a much-needed pause in facility managers’ daily routine to check off important maintenance to-dos. Even if all items can’t be addressed over the spring break, a facility maintenance checklist can serve as a foundational starting point to assess larger projects that can be completed over the longer summer break.
For additional information about how you can improve the health and safety of your school’s facilities, visit www.primexinc.com/education.