As we continue to combat the ongoing pandemic and other emerging viruses, educational staff and students have a lot on their plates. Installing an automated environmental monitoring system can make a substantial contribution to a smooth and safe school day and a cost-effective facility.
From medications to cafeteria food, there are a plethora of things in a school facility that require careful and consistent refrigeration. Primex OneVue Sense™ Temperature Monitoring can help staff appropriately monitor their storage units to prevent the loss of necessary goods.
- Student Medications
Childhood health problems are not uncommon; there are a variety of health concerns for students that require on-site administration of medications like insulin and pain management for chronic health conditions. The Journal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics reports that 19% of the 73 million children living in the U.S. have special health care needs, ranging from Type 1 and 2 diabetes to cystic fibrosis. These conditions require careful monitoring and management, especially during the long hours of the school day, and should be carefully detailed in each student’s personal health plan. It’s up to school nurses and leaders, then, to ensure that medications are stored in the correct conditions to ensure they’re safe for distribution when necessary.
Proper storage means making sure temperatures aren’t too cold, causing medications to accidentally freeze and force students to miss doses, or too hot, causing them to expire more quickly. If medications are stored improperly, freezing and warming are much more likely to occur. Both of these instances can result in schools being liable for replacing student medicines as well as impact student health. This can negatively affect school image, in the event that word spreads about a facility’s improper storage methods and loss of valuable medications. Primex OneVue® can help staff prevent disasters and keep both students and drugs safe.
- Food Storage
Spoiled or rotten food comes at the expense of both student health and school budgets. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in six Americans will get food poisoning each year; that’s 48 million people, many of which could be children. Serving safe-to-eat food to students at mealtimes, therefore, is partially dependent on a facility being able to properly store ingredients before preparation. By placing sensors inside refrigerators and freezers, schools can make sure that temperatures are appropriate and conform to Food and Drug Administration guidelines. They can also avoid potential student illness and parent discontent as a result of the consumption of spoiled food.
In addition to the impact on student health, food loss can be a hefty expense in school grocery budgets. The World Wildlife Foundation estimates that U.S. schools waste over 530,000 tons of food a year, which is equivalent to $9.7 million per day, or $1.7 billion every school year. To avoid being part of this number, prevent loss before it happens with trusted, automated monitoring.
Primex OneVue sensors provide real-time alerts and can inform users when their storage temperatures stray from approved ranges, which prevents food waste and financial loss. Additionally, with the Primex OneVue web-based software, users will also know how long their refrigerator or freezer was operating incorrectly, which can help staff discern which foods need to be discarded and which can be kept after an incident, and in turn, eliminate the possibility of serving expired or rotten food to students and staff.
Optimizing Indoor Air Quality
Ensuring good indoor air quality is incredibly important in schools, now more than ever. With COVID-19 cases again on the rise, it’s essential to consider what environmental components help or hinder the spread of disease. A group of researchers reviewed over 500 studies on the effects of temperature and humidity on the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses in schools; they found that the collective results pointed to warm, wet climates being more likely to keep viruses dormant, as opposed to colder, dryer climates, which fostered growth and spreading because they allowed respiratory droplets to remain in the air for a longer period of time.
As this threat of COVID-19 remains imminent, facility leaders should continue exploring every avenue and taking every precaution to protect students and staff from infection. With Primex OneVue Sense Indoor Air Quality Monitoring, facilities can constantly surveil their classroom conditions for optimal temperature and humidity, cutting down on opportunities for viruses to become active or transfer between people and surfaces.
Poor, uncontrolled IAQ can lead to a variety of issues, like:
- Rapid spreading of illness throughout the building
- Canceling in-person instruction or even returning to virtual classes
- New or further disruption to student routines, impacting parent and staff routines as well
A new study conducted by the United Nations and World Bank theorizes that the 1.6 billion schoolchildren worldwide affected by the COVID-19 pandemic could lose around $17 trillion in lifetime earnings. This number is a result of both the recent economic crashes as well as impacted school years due to virtual and asynchronous learning. Researchers surmise that the lack of basic skills caused by unstable learning conditions will push children into the workforce rather than preparing them for “higher-waged jobs,” contributing to the $17 trillion in lost earnings.
Therefore, keeping track of your environmental conditions is an essential factor in your new or existing IAQ tool kit, and your COVID-19 prevention strategy, as outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency’s extensive literature on proper IAQ in schools. The EPA provides resources for ensuring healthy indoor environments with regard to both COVID-19 control strategies and preventing mold-related illnesses, among other things, and discusses the importance of a multilayered prevention plan. For help monitoring your classrooms, Primex has your facility covered.
Catching Water Leaks
Burst pipes and malfunctions in heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems can quickly become real emergencies that result in costly flooding and building damage. The last thing schools need is added distraction from learning during the pandemic, as one Ohio elementary school discovered last January when their staff noticed too late that there were collections of excess water gathering on the walls, resulting in $100,000 worth of damages to their building. Primex OneVue Sense Water Leak Sensors can help you avoid situations like this with real-time alerts notifying you of a leak so you can take corrective action and prevent a costly flood.
In the event that leaks cause major damage, schools may be required to relocate students and staff from their regular classrooms, disrupting familiar routines and interfering with learning capabilities. Undetected leaks that move at a slower pace can also result in mold buildup from excess moisture, which can cause new or worsen existing health issues like asthma. Following a leak, mold takes about 24-48 hours to form, which means you have to act quickly to prevent its growth and the illnesses it can bring. For example, indoor air pollution, for which mold is a part of, is directly linked to pneumonia and similar respiratory illnesses that contribute to nearly one in 10 deaths in children ages five and under. Additionally, prevent buying new classroom furniture, making repairs to soggy roofs and floors, or even reconstructing whole areas of your facility with real-time alerts from Primex OneVue Sense Water Leak Sensors.
Streamlining Mass Notification
A smooth school day, or even a year, can depend heavily on effective communication strategies. From newsletters to email systems, schools communicate with staff, students, and parents all the time. However, there are several instances for which long-form messages aren’t appropriate, and schools need to relay information to the entire building in a quick and efficient manner, such as:
- Impromptu schedule changes
- Announcements about after school activities
- Emergency evacuation or protocol directions
- Ongoing situation updates
With Primex OneVue Notify®, facility leaders are able to send a cohesive visual-textual message throughout an entire building or campus, capitalizing on the usefulness of brevity and color, to make building occupants aware of any new information about the events of the day.
Additionally, as a supplement to automated monitoring, OneVue Notify InfoBoard™ displays can assist in notifying students and staff of an emergency or if a Contact Closure Sensor is triggered. This could be an important safety feature to prevent unwanted visitors and senseless, costly tragedies.
Streamlining the school day and making the effort to prevent and prepare for emergency situations saves money and makes everyone’s lives easier. By automating monitoring and communication systems, you can improve student health and simplify staff responsibilities, which puts more focus on teaching and learning every day.
For more information on how to make the cost-effective benefits of the OneVue portfolio a reality at your school, contact us today!