A colleague recently shared an article from EdWeek titled, “How Much COVID-19 Cleaning in Schools is Too Much?” In the article, the author discusses how COVID-19 has led to an increase in cleaning and disinfection activity in schools (no surprise) and the subsequent impact of that “cleaning” (or disinfection, more appropriately).
Pointing to a study that showed an increase in asthma attacks with “cleaning” in homes, the author suggests that we should “avoid overdoing cleaning” in schools to limit the potential health impact on students because COVID isn’t primarily spread through surfaces.
Ugh. As we all know, you can’t “overdo” cleaning. You can overdo disinfection, but that’s another topic we addressed early in the pandemic in this post.
The thing I want to draw your attention to is that the EdWeek website draws 1.5 million visitors a month. It is a primary resource for educators across the country. And sadly, this isn’t the only journalist who gets it wrong.
It’s been a year since our lives were flipped upside down by the pandemic, and there hasn’t been a day that’s passed when I’ve read something in the news or watched a commentator on TV get something wrong about cleaning. Many of you have likely experienced the same—it started with the images of spacesuit-clad disinfectant warriors and has continued through today with articles around hygiene theater.
Friends, our work must begin now. As professionals in this industry, we must work to educate others about the critical differences between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting. We must help them understand the importance of cleaning on our health. This starts in conversations with our neighbors and continues when we read or watch something on the news about cleaning. When a journalist gets it wrong, like in the article mentioned above, take a few minutes to drop them a note and let them know that cleaning and disinfection aren’t one and the same.
We’ve talked a lot about how cleaning has taken center stage throughout the pandemic, but sadly, people still don’t understand it. By evangelizing our work, we will help clarify these misconceptions and further professionalize this industry that we’ve all grown to love.
P.S. Feel free to drop Ms. Sparks a note. I know I will.