Children across the country are now returning to school, and while some pandemic rules remain in place, most classrooms and corridors are returning to “normal”, with bubbles, masks, and detachments being scrapped in many places.
The government also has yet to decide whether children as young as 12 will get the Covid vaccine – experts say their chances of contracting the coronavirus and becoming seriously ill are much lower.
However, there are fears that schools may now contribute to the spread of Covid-19 – with children carrying the virus home to their families.
Children do not need to isolate if they come into contact with a positive Covid-19 case. Instead, they have to undergo a PCR test and only isolate if the result is positive.
A study by De Montfort University (DMU) in Leicester this year examined how the coronavirus reacts to three substances.
Scientists said polyester posed the highest risk of transmission because after three days there were still infectious viruses that could be transmitted to other surfaces.
The study, which was carried out by microbiologist Dr. Katie Laird, virologist Dr. Maitreyi Shivkumar and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Lucy Owen involved adding droplets of a model coronavirus called HCoV-OC43 – which has a very similar structure and survival pattern to Sars-CoV-2 – which causes Covid-19 – to polyester, polycotton and 100% cotton.
Scientists said the virus lasted 24 hours on 100% cotton while it only survived six hours on polycotton.
Deyan Dimitrov, laundry expert and CEO of Pile of laundry, shared his advice to keep uniforms and other school equipment clean during the pandemic.
Deyan says it’s important to disinfect clothes – rather than just clean them. That means killing viruses and bacteria instead of just moving them from one surface to another.
To disinfect your laundry, you should wash school uniforms at a high temperature, preferably at 60 ° C.
Wear gloves to carry your laundry and use bleach-based detergent powders, liquids, or tablets.
The heat of the water works to deactivate bacteria and viruses.
Be sure to follow the care instructions, as sensitive items can be damaged.
Shaking the laundry should also be avoided, as this could spread virus particles through the air and expose other items of clothing to germs.
Ideally, dry your clothes thoroughly with a tumble dryer.
Viruses and bacteria thrive in humid environments, so it’s important to let all clothing dry completely.
Blazers are washed less often than other school uniforms.
Since many are made of wool or polyester, they are only washed in the washing machine at significantly cooler temperatures.
This can help remove stains and odors, but it won’t completely disinfect the blazer.
In addition, the blazer may shrink or discolour when drying in the tumble dryer, especially if it is made of wool. It is therefore advisable to disinfect sensitive clothing with steam.
If you own a steam cleaner, blow steam tightly onto the surface of the blazer and hold it there for a few minutes.
Make sure you have covered the entire garment and wash it at a temperature above 60 ° C.
The easiest way to do this is to place the blazer over a handrail or railing.
If you don’t have a steam cleaner, a steam iron is a sensible alternative. However, to be on the safe side, you might want to take the blazer to a laundromat.
Sportswear is more exposed to germs than normal school uniforms, so students shouldn’t wear their sportswear more than once between washes.
School bags are exposed to different surfaces throughout the day.
They are also regularly touched and may contain contaminated objects.
Since bags are washed less often than clothes, school bags can carry and spread viruses and bacteria.
How to clean a school bag depends on the material of the bag.
Cloth bags can be placed in the washing machine alongside the rest of the laundry and disinfected in the same way. Just heat it to a high temperature and use a bleach-based detergent.
Bags made of leather or other sensitive materials can be washed with disinfectant spray or wipes.
Let the bags dry completely and, as a precaution, instruct the children to keep bags on their laps when using public transport to go to school.
Pencil cases made of fabric or non-sensitive materials can be disinfected like bags in the washing machine.
Most importantly, children should be told not to share items from their pencil cases with other classmates.
As long as students adhere to these measures, pencil cases can simply be washed with disinfectant spray or wipes.
According to Laundryheap, the risk of contracting coronavirus from school uniforms is low, provided children adhere to social distancing and wash their hands regularly.
It is recommended to put on spare uniforms during the week.
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