Our education system has been turned upside down by COVID-19. Now, the SARS-CoV-2 Delta Variant is bringing a new heightened awareness of the need to protect students and staff from COVID-19 infections.
Schools must have a game plan in place to allow students to safely return to in person learning this fall. While there are many facets of a safe opening, diligence in cleaning and disinfecting surfaces should be an important part of the plan.
Electrostatic spray (E-Spray) disinfecting has become the premier method to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 from contact with contaminated surfaces. Read on to learn more about how electrostatic sprayers can save time and money while helping slow the spread of COVID-19 and other pathogens.
What the new CDC Guidance for Schools Says:
“Due to the circulating and highly contagious Delta variant, CDC recommends universal indoor masking by all students (age 2 and older), staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.”*
“In addition to universal indoor masking, CDC recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms to reduce transmission risk. When it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least 3 feet, such as when schools cannot fully re-open while maintaining these distances, it is especially important to layer multiple other prevention strategies, such as screening testing.”*
*From the CDC Corona Virus website updated 8-5-2021
Electrostatic Spray Disinfecting can Help Schools Re-Open Safely
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.
Spray Efficiency: When an object is sprayed with a Conventional sprayer (mechanical wide area sprayers, airless sprayers, pump up or trigger sprayers), 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. The Electrostatic sprayers target surfaces with charged sprayer droplets so coverage is more efficient with less overall waste.
Safety: Use of mechanical foggers, misters or sprayers can create far more airborne liquid particulates that can be inhaled. The Photo at above shows that the electrostatic spray particles are attracted to the surface and don’t end up airborne compared to other spray methods.
Wrapping Effect: 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.
Cost Savings of Electrostatic Disinfecting
- E-Spray Disinfecting is 90% more efficient than other methods.
- E-Spray Disinfecting uses 65% less chemical.
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.
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) and Electrostatic Spray Application? Note that household bleach is NOT on the EPA list N and should never be run through an electrostatic sprayer. Look for products that have a proven claim against SARS-CoV-2 (the cause of COVID-19). Note that the claim for the specific virus covers all variants including the DELTA variant.
- Is the product EPA approved for electrostatic spray applications? The EPA has recognized the value of electrostatic spray application of disinfectants and has approved a limited number of products for use with electrostatic sprayers.
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.
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.
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.
In addition, social distancing, mask guidelines and encouraging eligible students/adults to get vaccinated are critically important to defeating the pandemic.
What do you have to remember with Electrostatic Sprayers?
E-Spray electrostatic spray disinfecting is another productive tool to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and other contagious illnesses in our schools.