Overemphasis on Deep Cleaning Can Backfire

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STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • The U.K. prime minister’s decision to reopen primary schools in June was met with “alarm.” One suggestion brought forth by the teachers’ union was to spray pupils down with disinfectant mist before entering school buildings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In the end, such disinfection protocols do not appear to have been passed
  • Many parents in the U.K. are still resisting the reopening of all schools in September, as Public Health England COVID-19 surveillance reports suggest the limited school openings in June may have contributed to an increase in positive cases
  • Data from dozens of other countries show school openings have not resulted in any significant increases among students, parents or staff
  • Some U.S. school districts are implementing comprehensive disinfection protocols, but not of students directly. Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District in southern Arizona will use a Power Breezer fan to disperse disinfectant in classrooms and on buses
  • The World Health Organization advises against trying to kill SARS-CoV-2 with disinfectants, both outdoors or across large indoor spaces, stating it may do more harm than good. They also strongly advise against spraying disinfectants on people

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