DeSoto ISD Prepares Facilities for reopening

Facilities Departments Preparing Campuses for Reopening
Posted on 10/08/2020
Plant Services

DeSoto ISD is committed to ensuring the health and wellness of its students and staff, especially while in the campus-supervised learning environment. The Plant Services Department is ensuring that the facilities are in compliance and our Custodial Services partner, SSC for Education Services, have instituted an upgraded set of safety protocols, cleaning, and disinfection procedures for campuses this year.

The planning and preparation for the reopening of the campuses started for SSC staff shortly after the district’s closure during the Spring. DeSoto SSC Custodial Services Department Director Larry Boykin and his team of about 75 people, considered essential workers, continued their service to the district daily, deep cleaning, and disinfecting all assigned campus facilities.

“With the extended time, we were able to slow down and do a very thorough job to ensure the district facilities are ready for the students and staff to return,” said Boykin.

Some of the initial cleaning projects included the carpets being shampooed in every classroom and office, all hard surface flooring being stripped and waxed in cafeterias, offices and hallways, lighting and fixtures are dusted and cleaned.

Boykin commended the success of the day-to-day custodial operations to the SSC campus managers, Maria Aragonez and Jimmy Lister. “They have done an excellent job in facilitating this process. They are the true heroes of the custodial department and deserve the credit.”

Regarding preparing and maintaining the campuses for a safe, clean environment amid the pandemic, SCC unveiled new cleaning and disinfection plans, supplied a protocol guide for campuses, increased its use of commercial grade, approved cleaning solutions, additional cleaning equipment and implemented additional safe cleaning strategies specific to COVID-19.

“One the first things we did was stockpile PPE and cleaning supplies so we could be assured we would have the necessary supplies to handle the daily task of cleaning and sanitizing every school to keep children safe,” Boykin said. “We use only EPA and CDC approved COVID- removal products and equipment that are safe for all students and staff.”

Additionally, Boykin shared that there is an increased custodial cleaning schedule to allow more frequent cleanings of common, high traffic areas throughout the day.

At the end of each school day, the SSC custodial team also will do a complete terminal cleaning of all surfaces in the building to ensure the entire facility is disinfected and ready for staff and students the next day.

“We are using a two-step process of disinfection and sanitization. We will wipe everything down and then use an electrostatic sprayer that will wrap a surface and adhere to it providing a longer time to disinfect the surface.”

Some of the Specific Protocols for SSC Campus Cleaning and Disinfection

Campus Cleaning

Each classroom and restroom will be disinfected daily.

All high touch areas will be disinfected daily.

Cleaning cloths will be changed for each classroom and common area to maximize room to room cleanliness.

Custodians will wear masks and gloves during work hours.

The cafeteria will be disinfected between lunch periods.

Staff will have access to PPE to Go Kits in their areas which will include disinfectant wipes/cleaning supplies to sanitize working surfaces and shared objects after each use and during breaks in instruction.

Specific additional cleaning measures are also in place for Covid-19 Positive Cases on Campus

If a classroom or facility is closed due to COVID-19 spread, SSC will employ appropriate disinfectant measures as directed and stated in its guidelines and accordance with county and state health guidance.

SSC staff will also follow the DeSoto ISD staff safety protocols in addition to SSC specific mandates detailed in their safety manual.

Plant Services Reconfigured Building Spaces and Traffic Flow

Plant Services Department worked to ensure the physical building is in compliance with the standards in force this year.

During the district’s campus closure, the Plant Services Director Don Lester and his team streamlined their team to ramp-up its facility maintenance and repairs prior to shifting its focus to preparing schools for the return of daily operations during the pandemic.

“One of the major additions is the upgraded HVAC air filtration system. We integrated a system of a continuous and adequate supply of air flowing the classroom,” said Lester. “This update will keep the air fresh in the rooms.”

Plant Services also partnered with the district and campus leaders to create campus facility maps that determine entrances, exits, interior and exterior traffic mapping and configuring campus classrooms to be compliant with the current social distancing requirements.

Additionally, Lester shared that some of the new components on the campuses are plexiglass protective shields being installed at the campus’s front office areas along with strategically placed hand sanitizations.

Due to the goal of decreasing the likelihood of the virus on campuses, the water fountains are not in use this year and students will need to bring their own water bottles to the campuses.

Lester also shared that signage is being placed around the campuses to remind students of our commitment to safety, wellness, and social distancing.

For more information, visit the DeSoto ISD Back to School Reconnect Plan on the district’s website