'It might be staggering’: CDC releases cleaning, distancing guidelines for schools

WRENTHAM, Mass. — No end of the year field trips. No carpools to contend with. School buildings silenced.

Boston 25 News got a look inside a quiet Wrentham school Wednesday as they used an electrostatic cleaner that sprays a solution to disinfect and kill germs all hard surfaces.

​"Our maintenance team has been in the buildings and we’ve been really following the CDC expectations," explained Dr. Allan Cameron, Superintendent of Wrentham Public Schools. “Last year, we were worried about the flu season, typical flu, so we went out an purchased a machine for each building."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its new guidelines Wednesday to help schools prepare to welcome back students in the coming year.

It gave suggestions for cleaning, which include using soap and water, followed by disinfectant. It said bleach solutions are only effective for up to 24 hours.

The CDC suggests putting cleanable covers on shared electronics like computers. When cleaning, use alcohol-based wipes or spray and then let dry.

As far as playgrounds, the CDC says outdoor areas will need regular cleaning to high touch areas such as bars and rails, but it doesn’t require disinfection, saying it’s not an efficient use of supplies.

"The plan right now is that once the buildings are open and the playgrounds will be open. the structure will be safe, we just have to enforce the same social distancing," said Cameron.

School leaders have been meeting with state leaders to make sure things stay on track.

“I think we’re going to need to make sure everyone is really well-informed,” said Sam DePina, Chief of Operations at Boston Public Schools. “I think once everyone has that common understanding and we practice it everyday and it becomes routine, things will be a lot more easier.”

Expect things to look a lot different inside, as the CDC suggests modified layouts of classrooms with seating six feet apart and desks facing the same direction.

As for food service, students should bring their own food or schools should serve boxed meals, and all students should stay in the classroom to eat.

Yellow school buses will see changes as well with the guidelines recommending one child per row and an empty row in between.

“We have 55,000 students in the district and we transport about two-thirds of them,” explained DePina. “We’re going to have to assess our fleet with the capacity and with the guidelines.”

"We're going to have to take those recommendations that were made and see how we can apply that the school," added Cameron. "So, it might be staggering when the students come to school. it might be having to shift up our transportation structure."

No date has been set for schools to reopen in the Commonwealth.

Download the free Boston 25 News app for up-to-the-minute push alerts

>> Complete local and national coronavirus coverage here


- Massachusetts Coronavirus Information

- Boston Coronavirus Information

- Follow us on Facebook and Twitter | Watch Boston 25 NOW

- Download our free apps for your phone and smart TV