Stepping up your cleaning and disinfecting practices can help minimize the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19 in your church or school. The coronavirus can be spread by touching a contaminated surface – it may be viable for hours to days on chairs, desks, pews, counters, door handles, phones, computer keys, microphones, and more. Experts say that cleaning of surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in community settings.
If you are in a state that is urging ministries or schools to suspend in-person worship services or classes, use this downtime to perform a deep clean and disinfection of your facility, especially in high-touch, high traffic areas.
Be sure to review the CDC guidance with your employees and volunteers about proper procedures for cleaning and disinfecting your facilities.
Using the right disinfecting product is important. While there hasn’t been testing of specific products against the virus that causes COVID-19, it is expected that many existing disinfectants will be effective against the virus. The EPA publishes a list of products for use against COVID-19.
If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol, and most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
To reduce surface contamination, it’s important to follow a two-step process of cleaning and then disinfecting. “This means being a little more diligent with your procedures. For example, making sure to disinfect high-touch surfaces like light switches, doorknobs, touchscreens, and tabletops,” said Tim Cool, chief solutions officer with Cool Solutions Group LLC. He reminds everyone that preventing the spread of COVID-19 in your work or gathering place takes a combination of every day precautions (washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, using hand sanitizer, disposing of used tissues properly, and following cough etiquette) and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces frequently.
As you plan to improve your cleaning and disinfecting procedures, ask your team questions to develop a a robust process. The following questions were provided courtesy of Northshore Church in Kirkland, Washington, at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak:
What does our cleaning/sanitation process currently look like?
What does our cleaning/sanitation process look like for kids’ rooms?
It’s a good idea to communicate your updated cleaning procedures. “It’s not going to cost much more to take your cleaning to the next level, but it will help give people peace of mind and communicates care,” said Cool. Make sure to clearly communicate the steps you’ve taken to protect and care for your people.
When communicating with your congregants, students, or families, include information about what you’re doing to clean and disinfect your facilities. Here’s a sample of what Northshore adopted and communicated to its attendees:
The Coronavirus and Your Church Facility: https://www.smartchurchsolutions.com/blog/the-coronavirus-and-your-church-facility
IBHS – 6 Ways to Prevent a Virus from Disrupting Your Business: https://ibhs.org/wp-content/uploads/wpmembers/files/Business-Protection_Virus-Preparedness_IBHS.pdf
Used with Permission CDC.gov
Posted March 13, 2020
The information provided in this article is intended to be helpful, but it does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for the advice from a licensed attorney in your area. We strongly encourage you to regularly consult with a local attorney as part of your risk management program.
Thank you for your interest in Brotherhood Mutual. We appreciate the opportunity to provide your church or other ministry with an insurance quote and will reply to your request as soon as possible.
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