Flagler Schools Reduces Absenteeism Rates and Bioburden in Elementary Schools

https://www.cloroxpro.com/news-events/flagler-schools-reduces-absenteeism-rates-and-bioburden-in-elementary-schools/ August 15, 2019
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BUNNELL, Fla. — New study shows the impact of the Clorox® Total 360® System on environmental cleanliness.

Flagler Schools has concluded a two-year study to examine the impact of daily disinfection with the Clorox® Total 360® System on student absenteeism rates and environmental cleanliness. Key findings from the study showed that daily use of the system over the course of the 2019 school year resulted in a 14 percent decrease in the overall average absenteeism rate and a 53 percent decrease in the absenteeism rate for December (during peak flu season), as compared to the previous school year when the system was used monthly. 

Proper disinfection of surfaces can help keep absenteeism rates low, especially during cold and flu season when absences due to illness are common.1,2 Bacteria and viruses that cause infectious illnesses, including cold and flu, can survive on surfaces for days. Other common pathogens such as norovirus and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), can live on surfaces for weeks or even months,3 making consistent cleaning and disinfection crucial to keep school facilities healthy and to protect against outbreaks.

Flagler Schools invested in the Clorox® Total 360® System in 2017 after a harsh flu season that affected multiple schools in the district. Since its introduction, the system has been deployed monthly in each school as an extra layer of protection in addition to daily manual cleaning. In a continued effort to keep students and staff healthy, the school district stepped up their already stringent cleaning protocols and conducted a study to measure the efficacy of enhanced daily disinfection protocols using the system paired with the application of either the Clorox Commercial Solutions® Clorox® Total 360® Disinfectant Cleaner1 or Clorox Commercial Solutions® Anywhere®.

“At Flagler Schools, we are always striving to do more to protect our students and staff in the nine schools we serve,” said Christopher Shudy, Director of Custodial Services for Flagler Schools. “The decision to invest in the Clorox® Total 360® System came on the heels of a bad flu season and now that we’re equipped with the added protection, our goal is to proactively safeguard against illness and prevent outbreaks before they occur. We conducted the study to learn how we can continue to advance our efforts to reduce absenteeism and provide best-in-class facilities for our students.” 

During the study, the Clorox® Total 360® System was used daily in an elementary school in the Flagler Schools system throughout the 2019 school year, while another school in the district with similar demographics and enrollment continued to use the system monthly. Absenteeism data for both schools were measured against rates from the 2018 school year. 

In both schools, the Clorox® Total 360® System was used to disinfect high-touch surfaces in classrooms, the nurse’s station, cafeteria, restrooms and hallways. Results showed that the school in which the system was used daily not only had a significant decline in absenteeism rates for the 2019 school year (14 percent), but also reported no illness outbreaks. The comparison school using the system monthly saw a less significant decline in the average annual absenteeism rate at four percent. 

“We are pleased with the rate at which we were able to reduce absenteeism by including the Clorox® Total 360® System in our daily disinfection protocols,” added Shudy. “Enhancing the frequency of the system to daily use has not encumbered the custodial staff, in fact, they enjoy using it. Knowing the impact the system can make on our schools, we plan to continue using it routinely to stay ahead of future outbreaks.” 

While illness is just one of many factors that can keep students from attending school, the impact of the environment on student and staff illness is controllable and can be minimized by regularly disinfecting school surfaces. In addition to monitoring absenteeism, Flagler Schools also conducted environmental swabbing of a variety of surfaces in the study school and results showed that the Clorox® Total 360® System effectively reduced bacteria, yeast and mold levels even further than manual cleaning alone. 

To learn more about the study, please view the white paper here. To learn more about the Clorox® Total 360® System, please visit www.CloroxPro.com

Media Contact: 
Jason Wheeler 
Community Information Specialist 
Flagler County Schools 
386.437.7526, ext. 1124 

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1. Neuzil, K. M.; Hohlbein, C.; Zhu, Y. Illness Among Schoolchildren During Influenza Season. Arch. Pediatr. Adolesc. Med. 2002, 156 (10), 986. 
2. Guidance for School Administrators to Help Reduce the Spread of Seasonal Influenza in K-12 Schools, CDC https://www.cdc.gov/flu/school/guidance.htm (accessed Jul 3, 2019). 
3. Kramer, A.; Schwebke, I.; Kampf, G. How Long Do Nosocomial Pathogens Persist on Inanimate Surfaces? A Systematic Review. BMC Infect. Dis. 2006, 6, 1–8.

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