District 118 schools receive a 'deep cleaning'

Mike Robbins, head custodian at Northeast Elementary Magnet School, sprays disinfectant with an atomizer as part of Danville District 118's deep cleaning protocol.

DANVILLE – Danville District 118 schools are usually spic and span, but with the last coronavirus outbreak, the district has been taking extra precautions.

“We’ve been deep cleaning all the schools for two-and-a-half weeks since we first heard about it,” Buildings and Grounds Director Skip Truex said.

One tool the district has in its arsenal for fighting the spread of illness inside its school buildings is an atomizer, which actually looks like a futuristic toy gun.

The five atomizers the district has are anything but a toy.

“I got the idea about a year and a half ago when I saw a hospital using them,” Truex said.

“We had a flu outbreak last year at Northeast with 60 kids out, so I ordered three of them,” he said. “Then I ordered two more this year. We think it works well.”

The atomizers spray a fine mist of disinfectant mixture, which Truex said “was the only thing known to kill the coronavirus.”

“We started spraying surfaces with them two weeks ago,” he said. “We wanted to stay ahead of it.

“We spray it in the classrooms, and it gets down in the keypads,” he added.

Mike Robbins, head custodian at Northeast Elementary Magnet School, said he uses the atomizer “several times a day” at the school.

“It’s a special chemical we put through it, but it’s non-toxic,” he said.

Robbins sprays the mist on classroom door handles, hallway coat racks and shelves, around the water fountains, in student restrooms and faculty restrooms, and around the lunch tables in between lunch periods.

“First thing in the morning before the students and teachers get here, I go around and spray all the pencil sharpeners, light switches and sinks,” he said.

“I spray all the areas I know students touch,” he added as he sprayed the lower edge of the lunchroom tables where small hands might explore.

During spring break, Northeast as well as all the schools in the district will receive what is considered a “deep cleaning.”

“We will be going through and wiping down desks, chairs, keyboards and (computer) mice,” Robbins said.

“I will start cleaning and sanitizing the kitchen, wiping down all the surfaces and walls, and scrubbing and disinfecting the floors,” he said.

“The gym floors, restroom floors and hallways are going to get a good scrubbing and then they will be waxed,” he added.

Robbins said he and his fellow Northeast custodian Quinn Britt are fastidious when it comes to cleaning Northeast.

“We take great pride in this building,” he said. “When we do a deep cleaning, we go outside of what we would normally do. We’re going above and beyond.

“With the current situation, we have to hope for the best and plan for the worst,” Robbins said.

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