Green cleaning solutions and expert tips to maintain the health, performance, wellbeing, and tradition of your private school and its students.
Green Cleaning Solutions to Improve Private School Education
Student health and welfare is critical to their education.
Public, as well as private schools, are required by State law to meet minimum health and safety requirements.
Local school districts must provide equivalent health services and guidance or counseling services―as are provided to public school pupils by the district where the nonpublic schools is located to students attending nonpublic schools upon formal request.
Health services may be provided on the nonpublic school grounds.
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However, private schools are often held to a higher standard, as well as bear the scrutiny that comes with higher expectation.
This is especially true with special needs students, entitled by law to a sufficient educational experience and fair treatment, especially those with specific health needs that may require onsite medical attention.
Additionally, where cleanliness is a cornerstone foundation amongst alumni, who are often financial donors to the school, expertise, and experience with an institution steeped in tradition is a requirement.
Clean School + Healthy Student = Better Education
The state of cleanliness and disrepair in modern education institutions is troubling, even in private facilities.
The constant and ongoing presence of students in confined classrooms, hallways, cafeterias, and locker rooms presents an ongoing and complicated health and safety issue.
Studies have repeatedly shown that children educated in a clean and healthy environment consistently perform at a higher level.
To achieve this goal, private educators will need to apply modern green cleaning and facilities maintenance practices to match current economic realities with the needs of the pupils.
The State of Cleanliness and Disrepair in Modern Shools
How clean and well cared for are our schools?
An oft-cited 2002 study published by the National Center for Education Statistics examined exactly that question, reporting that, nationally:
- 66% – had at least one unacceptable physical or structural condition related to cleanliness, vandalism, and/or disrepair.
- 16% – had trash on the floor.
- 6% – had trash overflowing somewhere on school property.
- 10% – had signs of graffiti somewhere in the school—on the walls, lockers, desks, and/or in the bathrooms.
- 33% – had floors and/or walls that were not considered clean, and;
- 11% – had ceilings that were in disrepair.
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Health Issues Related to Full-Time Occupancy
The number of children in classrooms, hallways, cafeterias, gymnasiums, locker rooms, and other areas creates huge cleaning and maintenance challenges.
-Healthy Schools Network – Guide To Green Cleaning – Healthier Cleaning & Maintenance
Health problems become more troublesome in private boarding schools where children spend a significant amount of their time indoors.
The EPA has estimated that indoor air pollution can range between two to five times higher than outside, contributing to an increase in:
- Asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
- Infectious diseases.
- Eye, nose, throat, and skin irritation.
- Learning problems, and;
- Behavioral disorders.
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- Schalmont Central School District – Green Cleaning
Clean Learning Environments and Student Performance
Obviously, sick children are less engaged and do not perform at their best, let alone at the expected higher standard of private education.
Additionally, chronically ill students place a significant financial burden on boarding schools, navigating vital funds away from traditional activities and budgets.
According to the New York State Office of General Services:
Children’s physical and mental health can be severely affected by chemical and other environmental hazards. Increased rates of asthma, cancer, and behavioral and attention deficit disorders have been associated with contaminants found in the indoor environment. Studies have identified a connection between a clean school environment and improved learning, reduced absenteeism, and better test scores.
Legacy & Tradition; How Green Cleaning can Impede the Disappearance of Private Education
Private school enrollment has seen a steady decline over the last few years.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics:
In school year 2013–14, some 5.4 million students (or 10 percent of all elementary and secondary students) were enrolled in private elementary and secondary schools. The percentage of all elementary and secondary students enrolled in private schools decreased from 12 percent in 1995–96 to 10 percent in 2013–14, and is projected to continue to decrease to 9 percent in 2025–26 (the last year for which projected data are available).
The decrease in enrollment is due, in part, to economic realities, as well as increasing operational costs.
This presents an issue to administrators courting affluent parents and donors on school grounds.
Owen O’Mahony, President of IBS Direct, was recently quoted in an article published by Cleanlink, stating:
Private schools, especially the larger ones, mainly due to the fact that they charge a high tuition, put a lot of emphasis on the appearance of their facility.
An elegant solution to the issue is to implement green cleaning solutions and practices throughout the school.
Green cleaning programs in schools have been proven to:
- Reduce indoor air pollutants.
- Eliminate the use of hazardous cleaning chemicals.
- Decrease student and faculty absenteeism.
- Reduce water and energy usage.
- Decrease financial expenditure, and;
- Significantly improve employee and pupil engagement.
What that translates into for private school administrators and parents seeking a quality learning institution is that a higher standard of service can be achieved at a cost-effective rate that delivers according to long-standing expectations while improving the student’s educational experience.
Reducing costs while maintaining high standards of cleanliness will significantly improve the outlook for private institutions that provide ongoing care for children with special needs, especially those with compromised immune systems or respiratory issues, where the type of chemical used to clean can have a dramatic impact on those who come in contact with it.
Getting Your School Involved in Green Programs
Convincing your private or boarding school to get onboard with a green cleaning program starts with, oddly enough, educating everyone regarding the core principles and advantages.
Key factors to consider are:
- Current Infrastructure – What improvements may be required to achieve a green seal of approval. This section often includes an examination of HVAC and air flow systems, chemicals used in paint, insulation type (especially asbestos), as well as the kind of carpet and flooring throughout the various buildings.
- Purchasing Guidelines – This will include a list of approved cleaning chemicals and equipment, as well as approved vendors and budgeting.
- Quality Expectations – As with any plan, it is important to establish measurable goals and milestones to gauge the progress of the green programs.
- Get the kids involved – One emerging trend showing lots of promise is the inclusion of students in the cleaning process. This practice teaches responsibility, builds character, engages the students in a healthy physical activity that benefits others, and helps the school keep costs down by eliminating the need for onsite janitorial services for basic cleanup needs.
- GreenSchools.org – 5 Steps to Green Cleaning in Schools
- Greener School Cleaning Supplies – Help your School
- Montgomery County Public Schools – FY 2014 Healthy, High-Performance Green Cleaning Plan
Private education institutions, as well as the traditions they impart, are not going away anytime soon.
However, modern socio and economic realities must be taken into consideration in order to maintain the schools proud legacy.
This will include a deep introspective into current spending and an analysis of faculty and student engagement, as well as parent and donor satisfaction that can be complimented in multiple areas by implementing a quality green cleaning program from an experienced provider.
Discover the Vanguard Cleaning Systems Difference.
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