A lot has had to change in the cleaning industry over the last 2 years — particularly in public buildings and higher education facilities.
In many places, the first attempts to resume in-person classes were a mixed bag. Some schools had little issue, and others struggled continuously with incidences of students and staff becoming sick. Among other things, it made it clear to everyone that new procedures were needed to mitigate sudden illnesses and other emergent scenarios.
Some educational facilities were brought to their knees from shortages, both in terms of staff and in supplies to keep everything running.
If there’s on thing learned in the last couple years, it’s how narrow of a thread many institutions were running on. Put plainly, cost-cutting measures meant a lot of organizations closely calculated averages of typical usage and were not stocked or prepared for deviations.
Changes in College Enrollment
According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, colleges across the U.S. averaged an unprecedented 13% drop in first year enrollment after the pandemic. Two-year community colleges took an even bigger hit, with an 18% lower enrollment rate compared to 2019.
And it’s worth noting that in 2019 schools were also reporting a 2-3% drop in enrollment.
Colleges are therefore having to make do with less where it’s already clear the status quo won’t cut it anymore.
How The Higher Education Industry Is Responding
Politico.com goes into detail about how higher education organizations have observed change. In one notable case, President Adam Weinberg of Denison University in Ohio mentioned that the pandemic has sped up changes that were already slowly evolving. Essentially, he said, what might have been a decade’s worth of changes have kicked into gear in a couple years.
One example is the significance administrators see to expand online learning opportunities and to find jobs for students.
Administrators have also noted that students today are far more focused on ensuring a return on investment in their college education than years past. Years ago, going to college may have been perceived more as just something one does. It was a given, as was the idea that the degree would land one a great job afterward.
With the job market like it is currently, and with many young professionals reporting that having a degree doesn’t make them as competitive as it once did, the perception is changing a bit.
Having people stay home when sick is obviously a bit part of preventing contagions moving forward, and a big part of that being feasible is the move for colleges to institute “non-punitive” and paid days off for sick leave.
In a lot of workplaces, people end up coming to work sick because they can’t burn any more vacation days and feel like they have no choice.
These government ECE programs propose creating scenarios where, if a person can show they are legitimately sick, or are caring for someone who is, they should be able to miss work or class without fear of loss of grades or job — or pay.
That means a professor could stay home while ill and be paid for those days and not worry that it counts against their vacation days or that it jeopardized their job. And students could miss class with legitimate illness and know they would be given the opportunity to make up any tests missed and would not fail the class because of it.
CDC-Recommended Ventilation Systems Funding
The U.S. Department of Education’s Emergency Relief Programs would provide funding for primary and secondary schools to upgrade their ventilation systems.
These incorporate advanced air purification that reduces the spread of germs and other contaminants through the air. Some private medical practices got a jump on this move early and their patients have been safer for it.
Some of these HVAC systems even employ ultraviolet light that acts as a powerful germ-killer right in the air ducts, preventing them from building up and blowing everywhere.
Greater Focus On Cleaning Hands and Surfaces
While many facilities did stock up on hand sanitizer and place receptacles frequently throughout their properties, ECE programs now focus on teaching procedures for properly covering coughs and sneezes, and hand-washing after specific events throughout the day.
Beyond that, professional cleaning companies have played a larger role in higher education facilities.
This is something we have taken very seriously, and has been an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to training on the latest standards.
These include the latest ECE programs’ guidelines on:
- Cleaning bathroom areas where diaper changes happen
- Infant feeding areas
- Any areas, such as nurse’s offices, that may be exposed to bodily fluids
- Classrooms and frequent-touch surfaces