A look at COVID-19 deep cleaning in Harnett County Schools

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HARNETT COUNTY, N.C. (WNCN) – The voices of students in the hallways at Harnett County Schools were absent Wednesday. Instead, it was the sound of spraying, misting and wiping filling schools.

Wednesdays are the school district’s days for campus-wide deep disinfecting.

“It’s important for the kids. You want to make a safe environment for them and the staff here and the school system,” said Garland McDowell, director of custodial and ground services for the school district.

Custodial staff use heavy duty, hydrogen peroxide based wipes and cleaning chemicals you won’t find in a store to clean. They do a pass over high touch surfaces like table tops and chairs.

“We do a lot of window ledges and other areas in the class that aren’t normally touched during a normal day of cleaning,” said McDowell.

An electrostatic sprayer is the next step. It allows disinfectants to get into smaller spaces. The chemicals coming out cling to and kill viruses and bacteria.

Sanitizing the district is detailed work this year.

“It’s raised up a lot from where it was normally,” said McDowell.

Staff work their way through every bathroom surface and water fountain.

Common areas like the cafeteria are closed so those don’t need this level of cleaning.

The process goes from 7 a.m through through 4 p.m. On Fridays, custodial staff stay late to get schools ready for the following week. McDowell said staff play a critical role.

“They are on the front line and they are provided the appropriate PPE to make sure they are as safe as possible,” he said.

Safety on the school bus

Cleaning isn’t just limited to school campuses, school buses are also given the same level of attention.

Before students hop on, they are temperature screened. If the student has a high temperature, they are asked to return home if there is an adult present. If not, there is a vacant seat behind the bus driver ready reserved for them.

The district said seats are limited to one per student. Multiple students can sit in the same seat if they are from the same household.

Students are required to wear masks while riding the bus and throughout the school day.

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