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Keeping Students and Staff Safe from COVID-19 with Electrostatic Spray Disinfecting

Our education system has been turned upside down by COVID-19.  Many students struggle as the invaluable experiences of in person education have been forced to be put on hold by the Virus.

Now, with light at the end of the tunnel for the defeat of COVID-19, there is a big push to continue the reopening of education institutions for all ages.

The CDC continues to update guidance and has paved the way for the safe re-opening of our schools with the recent reduction in social distancing to 3 ft in most situations(1).  Our schools must continue to be vigilant to insure re-opening is done with the safety of students and staff in mind.  A part of that is continuing to conduct enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols in our schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other transmissible illnesses.

What the CDC is saying….

“Safe in-person instruction gives our kids access to critical social and mental health services that prepare them for the future, in addition to the education they need to succeed,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

Details about CDC updated guidance can be found on the CDC website, see link at the end of this article.

Electrostatic Spray Disinfecting can Help Schools Re-Open Safely

The many touchpoints of a student desk

Even the best efforts at sanitation can fall short when a highly contagious virus like the human corona virus SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19 is running rampant.  Some surfaces harboring germs simply get missed because the surface is complex in shape or maybe hard to reach.  Think about a tables and chairs or a student desk, the top surface is easy to clean/disinfect, but what about the underside, the seat, rails, and legs?

Furthermore, cleaning staffs often have limited time to cover large areas where traditional spray and wiping methods take a substantial amount of time.  Enter the electrostatic sprayer or E-Spray, a special type of sprayer that charges disinfectant spray droplets so they are attracted to surfaces similar to opposite poles of a magnet.  A battery powered electrostatic sprayer can cover large surface areas up to 24,000 sq ft/hour while  insuring coverage of all critical surfaces.

What makes electrostatic spraying different from other types of sprayers?

When an object is sprayed with a Conventional sprayer (think pump up or trigger sprayer), a portion of the spray particles reach the target object.  The rest of the liquid particles succumb to gravity and fall to the floor or simply float past the object.  Further, surfaces of complex objects or hard to reach spots are often missed.  These missed spots can be a breeding ground for pathogens.

Electrostatically applied liquids have a wrapping effect, so that complex objects and areas hidden from the line of site get coated with the liquid.  The E-Spray technology has been successfully used in other industries including agriculture and industrial painting.

Can I use any disinfectant in my electrostatic sprayer?

While many disinfectants may work in electrostatic sprayers, it is best to use the product recommended by the chemical manufacturer that sells the sprayer and produces the appropriate disinfectants.

Concentrate, EPA Emerging Pathogen Claim, Approved for Spray Application

Here are questions you may want to ask when selecting a disinfectant for an electrostatic sprayer:

  • Is the disinfectant ready to use or a concentrate?  Ready to use products are typically 99.5-99.7% inactive (inert) ingredients.  Concentrated products can save 80-98% over ready to use products.
  • What is the wet contact time for the disinfectant?  Disinfectants can have wet contact times of 1-10 min.   Using appropriate nozzle adjustments on the sprayer can help insure the contact time is met.
  • Is the disinfectant listed on EPA List N-Disinfectant approved for Corona Virus (COVID-19)? Note that household bleach is NOT on EPA list N and should never be run through an electrostatic sprayer.  Look for products that have an emerging pathogen virus claim, these are products proven to kill viral pathogens more difficult to kill than human corona virus.
  • Is the product EPA approved for spray applications? Coming Soon….  The EPA has recognized the value of electrostatic spray application of disinfectants and has initiated an approval process to add electrostatic spray application to the label of certain EPA registered disinfectants.
Quick Tip

Using alcohol solutions in place of regular disinfectants is never recommended in  an electrostatic sprayer.  Most of these solutions do not have an EPA registration number.  If in doubt, make sure the product  is on the EPA approved list for disinfectants effective on human corona virus.

When, where, and how to use E-Spray electrostatic spray equipment for disinfecting in schools.

Offices:  Spray desks and chairs at the end of the day.

Conference Rooms:  Spray tables and chairs after each use.

Classrooms: Desks, shelves, tables at the end of day or between class change overs.

Cafeteria:  Spray all tables, chairs and other surfaces outside the kitchen.

Lockers:  Metal lockers inside and out.

School Buses:  Spray Seats, walls and rails between routes.

School Gyms:  Wrestling Mats:  prevent cases of MRSA and Ring Worm.  Workout  equipment, weights and other equipment.

Restrooms:  Spray partitions, behind toilets and other difficult to reach surfaces.

E-Spray:  Another tool in the Infection Prevention Toolbox.

Electrostatic sprayers are only a small piece of the puzzle for stopping the spread of COVID-19.  However, it can be a critical component of an overall infection prevention strategy for a facility.   

E-Spray application of disinfectants gives building occupants, visitors, students, and staff the confidence that the necessary steps are being taken to keep people safe.

The Infection Prevention Toolbox should include the following:

  • Encourage hand washing especially after using the bathroom.
  • Locate hand sanitizing stations where water is not available.
  • Policies requiring Sick workers/students/staff should stay home if feeling ill.
  • Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should get tested and not allowed to return to work until recommended quarantine time has passed per CDC Guidelines.
  • Implement a High Touch Surface Disinfecting Program.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces.
  • End of day or between use consider electrostatic spray disinfecting of surfaces.

What do you have to remember with Electrostatic Sprayers?

E-Spray electrostatic spray application of disinfectants is not a substitute for cleaning surfaces.

E-Spray electrostatic spray disinfecting is another productive tool to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and other contagious illnesses in our schools.

Resources:

(1) CDC updated guidance for schools

Learn More about Electrostatic Sprayers

www.multi-clean.com

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