Buildings and Facilities

The Washington State Department of Health updated its guidance on Aug. 4, on how to best keep schools clean. Tacoma Public Schools staff follow the most current guidance in each of our open facilities, adjusting as we receive updated procedures from health authorities.

What products does TPS use to clean schools and other buildings?
Current guidance for cleaning and disinfection for COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control states that disinfectants should be registered by the Environmental Protection Agency for use against the COVID-19. TPS only uses items on that list. Staff and visitors should not bring their own chemicals, cleaners, or disinfectants.

What surfaces get cleaned and how often?
High-touch surfaces like doorknobs, faucet handles, check-in counters, and restrooms get cleaned and disinfected daily.

If groups of students move from one area to another in shifts, the guidance is to finish cleaning and disinfecting before the new group enters the area, then clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces each night after students leave.

To ensure we can maintain a consistent cleaning routine, we’ve asked that school staff not bring personal items such as chairs, couches, throw rugs, and toys to school.

What does TPS use to clean keyboards and electronic devices?
We use 70% isopropyl alcohol.

How does TPS keep outdoor equipment clean?
Outdoor areas generally require normal routine cleaning and do not require disinfection.

High-touch surfaces made of plastic or metal, such as grab bars and railings, are cleaned routinely.

How does TPS ensure cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting materials are used safely?

We follow these steps:

  • We use disinfectants in a ventilated space.
  • Heavy use of disinfectant products are used when children are not present; the facility should air out before children return.
  • We use the proper concentration of disinfectant.
  • We keep the disinfectant on the surface for the required wet contact time.
  • We keep all chemicals out of reach of children.
  • We keep a Safety Data Sheet for each chemical used in the facility.
  • Parents, teachers, and staff should not supply disinfectants and sanitizers.

How does TPS keep carpets clean?
Carpets are vacuumed daily.

How does TPS keep restrooms clean?
Restrooms are cleaned and disinfected daily.

How does TPS keep drinking fountains clean?
We clean and disinfect the button or lever, and any surfaces.

How does TPS use ventilation to maintain good indoor air quality?
We open windows often and adjust the HVAC system to allow the maximum amount of outside air to enter the program space. (There is no special cleaning or disinfection for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.)

How does TPS clean shared learning materials?
We advise our staff to clean and disinfect hands-on materials often and after each use, and to limit shared teaching materials to those that can be easily cleaned and sanitized or disinfected. Books and other paper-based materials are not high-risk for spreading the virus.

What’s the system for cleaning a room or area after someone suspected of or confirmed to have COVID-19 was in it?
When a school sends a person with COVID-19 symptoms home or learns a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19 has been on the premises, our process is to clean and disinfect all areas where the ill person spent time and the surfaces they touched. We also close off those areas visited by the ill persons, open outside doors and windows, and use ventilating fans to increase air circulation in the area.

If it has been more than 7 days since the person with suspected/confirmed COVID-19 visited or used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary.