The Norovirus outbreak has already hit 60 school’s this winter with health officials being brought in, kids and teachers being sent home and schools and hospitals across being closed across the UK. Every winter see’s the common sickness bug strike and whilst we can give all the advise in the world about trying to prevent the bug from reaching your school, we think it’s also important to advise on what to do when the sickly bug reaches your school to stop it spreading further.
We’ve already seen a number of hospitals and schools affected by norovirus, and unfortunately instances like these are likely to rise over the coming weeks
– Stephen Powis, NHS Medical Director
Noroviurs is a highly contagious sickness bug which quickly spreads around places like schools where there are lots of surfaces and objects for which the virus can survive on for several days. Having said that, anyone of any age can get the bug which is most common in winter and it’s estimated between 600,000 and 1 million of us Brit’s catch it every year! It’s not a very pleasant illness, but luckily it should only last a few days!
How to prevent Norovirus in schools?
As you know, Norovirus is very contagious and can easily be caught and spread by just touching a surface or object that’s been contaminated! But there are luckily some things you can do to stop the risk of your school getting it.
∙ Students and teachers should wash their hands frequently. Make sure pupils are well aware of the proper hand washing techniques and importance of and also add soaps to your class rooms and other areas of the school. We recommend our Jangro Alcohol Gel Hand Rub (Stock code: JH-00059, JH-00393 and JH-00291) for classrooms and washrooms which have been proven to kill the Norovirus germs! Speak to one our education experts on the best hand care for your education establishment on 0117 934 1270.
∙ Send children or staff who are poorly home as soon as possible and advice them to stay off school/work until 48 hours after their last symptom – even if they’re “feeling” fine, they’ll still be contagious at this time.
∙ Encourage all pupils and staff to cover their mouth and nose with a disposable tissue which should be thrown away immediately before washing their hands. Try make tissues and soap easily available to everyone.
∙ Check you’re in line with your schools bodily fluid hygiene policy and that personal protective equipment (PPE such as disposable gloves and aprons) is used when cleaning up spillages. Have you got all the cleaners and equipment you need and does everybody know how to use them safely (COSHH)?
What should staff do if they notice symptoms of Norovirus in themselves?
Whilst sick leave is sometimes undesirable, when it comes to the Norovirus in schools, it’s just not worth the risk of contaminating everyone! Tell your line manager as soon as you notice the symptoms and head home to recover. If you have any of the symptoms (nausea, sickness, abdominal pain and/or diarrhoea) then you should remain off work until 48 hours after your last Norovirus symptoms. Please don’t be tempted to go into school before your 48 hours are up. You might be feeling perfectly fine and back to normal, but the virus will still be alive sadly and the risk of spreading the symptoms around the school still pose a huge risk.
What should staff do if they notice symptoms of Norovirus in pupils?
If you notice any students looking or complaining about feeling ill, they should be sent home as soon as possible. If they cannot be sent home, then the sick pupil should be kept away from other pupils and teachers as much as possible, so sending them to the doctors office is always a safe option. Don’t forget to tell parents/carers that pupils should stay off school until at least 48 hours after their last symptom, no matter how “fine” they are feeling.
Dealing with the dreaded Norovirus outbreak at School:
How to deal with the Norovirus outbreak at school is important to ensure no more pupils or staff go off ill. With 60 schools having already closed this winter due to the number of pupils/teachers that had the bug and health officials being brought in to tackle it, you don’t want this to happen to your establishment.
It’s classified as an outbreak when two or more people within your education establishments have taken ill with the winter bug. So what should you do?
Well first up, the headteacher should contact your local health protection team (HPT) to discuss the situation and actions required. Even if you think it’s too small a case to call HPT you should just in case. You’ll need to know:
∙ The number of people effected
∙ The symptoms
∙ The date(s) the symptoms began
∙ The number of classes effected
And so the Norovirus clean up process begins…
Now it’s time for the clean up process to begin. Start with ordering in your all important Pattersons Norovirus Clean Up Kit that has everything you could possibly need for cleaning up when a virus starts spreading around school – to stop the germs spreading even further!
You will need:
1x Jangro Virucidal Cleaner 5ltr (BA053-5)
1x Jangro Cleaner Disinfectant 5ltr (JH-00360)
1x Jangro Medical Sanitiser 5ltr (JH-00728)
1x Pelican Pump For 5ltr Containers (PX-00002)
1x Yellow Oval Mop Bucket 15ltr (SC405294)
1x Exel PY Mop Head PY 200g (TB-00025)
1x Yellow Mop Handle (JH-00221)
1x Yellow Dustpan & Brush (A8-29225)
Box Of 200 Yellow Clinical Waste Sacks (IE-01025)
Box Of 100 Nitrile Gloves (DG150-M)
Roll Of 200 Blue Disposable Aprons (D7-01035)
6x Jangro Blue Centrefeed Rolls 2ply 150m (CP-02411)
1x Wet Floor Sign (RM-61120)
1x Multizorb Absorbent Granules 20ltr (BZ000003)
∙ As much as we don’t like to imagine it, there is a chance staff may have to come into contact with bodily fluids. If you do, make sure you’ve got all the person protective equipment (PPE) you need including disposable gloves and aprons which should be disposed of as soon as the clean up job is complete!
∙ Don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly, effectively and regularly. Make sure everyone else does too!
∙ Make sure warm water, hand wash and paper towels are constantly available. Add more hand wash and paper towels to other locations outside of the washroom too.
∙ Arrange for toilets to be cleaner more frequently than normal as well as door handles and classroom tables!
Preventing and then dealing with a Norovirus break out at school is never an easy (or fun) process but it has to be done. For further advice or to order your Pattersons Norovirus Clean Up Kit, give our friendly team of education cleaning experts a call on 0845 207 1955 today.