School cleaning and COVID-19

Schools across Australia are looking at cleaning procedures as we all seek to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

While washing hands, properly, with soap and water remains the key means by which infection can be spread it is also important that frequently touched surfaces are cleaned frequently.  According to advice from the Commonwealth department of Heath, detergent solution (as per manufacturer’s instructions) can be used, with the exact choice of detergent determined by the nature of surface and likely degree of contamination.  They recommend that while detergent-impregnated wipes may be used, they should not be used as a replacement for the mechanical cleaning process.

Their guidance is contained in two information sheets, one for the general community and one to the higher standards applicable in health and residential care facilities –

The advice for health and residential care facilities includes guidance for those settings in relation to “terminal cleaning”. Terminal cleaning is a complete and enhanced cleaning procedure that decontaminates an area following discharge or transfer of a patient with an infectious/communicable disease, or a room in a residential care facility after a resident has recovered from an infectious illness, sometimes also referred to as an ‘infectious clean’. Terminal cleaning requires both thorough cleaning and disinfection for environmental decontamination.  It would be the type of process likely to be followed should there be a confirmed case of COVID-19 within a school.


“Bio-fogging” is a further treatment used in these situations. As an additional treatment to traditional physical cleaning methods, a school can be fogged to provide whole room decontamination, including in difficult to reach areas like ceilings, high walls and cupboards. Fogging also minimises the need to use ladders and access equipment to disinfect elevated furniture and equipment.

One school in Sydney has sought a quote for such a treatment and for the 4078 sqm area of their school buildings was quoted $4,078.00 + GST.  Obviously prices may vary but this may give an idea of the order of magnitude of these costs.

It may also be worthwhile discussing with your current cleaning contractors whether they have the capabilities of doing a “terminal cleaning” to the required standard.