As schools reopen this fall, the protection of students, teachers, support staff, and our general public remains paramount. School boards are on the front lines in dealing with the challenging task of controlling the spread of COVID-19, while at the same time offering a supportive learning environment and easing the concerns of staff, parents and students.
Facility managers across all public & private buildings are addressing similar issues as they look to re-occupy their buildings. With the rapidly evolving science and protocols around COVID-19, many lessons have already been learned as facility managers share best practices from COVID-19 and previous pandemics. Pinchin has been collaborating with these facility managers to share best practices and is well-positioned to assist school officials manage the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in educational facilities.
How Pinchin Can Help
Pinchin’s team of experienced health & safety professionals, including Certified Risk Assessors, Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIHs), Registered Occupational Hygienists (ROHs), Mechanical Engineers, Toxicologists and Medical Professionals, have been working across all building types to support proactive COVID-19 solutions. Summarized below is a list of services already used by many facility managers to manage COVID-19 and which can be cost-effectively implemented in educational facilities.
COVID-19 Management Plans
Pinchin applies a risk assessment approach to assessing COVID-19 transmission risk. With schools facing the challenge of bringing students and teachers back to the classroom safely, Pinchin can assess a representative sample of a building portfolio, as well as classroom and common space activities, to determine which activities pose a risk to students, teachers and support workers. Pinchin will then establish an appropriate series of mitigation actions to reduce or eliminate these identified risks.
Space Planning & Implementation
Classroom size is one of the largest hurdles that needs to be overcome during this COVID-19 pandemic. Pinchin has the experience working in public buildings to optimize space and develop innovative ways to stay physically distanced. All options can be explored from optimizing existing space to using alternative buildings.
Real-Time Indoor Air Quality Testing
Pinchin has developed a real-time monitoring solution for indoor air quality parameters that are indicative of the potential for COVID-19 spread. This is achieved through building sensors, analytics and web-based dashboards. Real-time IAQ monitoring provides a complete set of tools to obtain data, store it securely, and visualize it in ways to drive evidence-based decision making.
Pinchin manages COVID-19 surface risk by evaluating surface cleanliness to help facility managers and cleaners ensure cleaning has been effective. Pinchin can also provide testing post-incident for the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
COVID-19 audits are typically conducted in two phases. The first involves a tabletop review of existing COVID-management planning documents to identify any gaps in relation to public health and related guidelines. The second involves a walk-through of a representative number of school facilities to evaluate compliance with the COVID-management plan. A gap analysis is provided with mitigation recommendations for the deficiencies noted.
Legionella & Water Services
COVID-19 has put public buildings into a low or no occupancy state. Lower potable water flow rates, and less frequent maintenance schedules, can cause legionella to form in buildings, potentially leading to serious infection or fatal disease. Pinchin can help school boards through comprehensive building investigations, collection of samples, and cost-effective solutions.
Industry experts and research are increasing focus around the possibility that COVID-19 can be transmitted through airborne pathways. Organizations like ASHRAE and AIHA have provided best practice guidance based on available information. Pinchin can evaluate your existing mechanical systems and determine if best practices are being followed and make appropriate recommendations, as well as support modifications to plans as emerging research becomes industry consensus.
Pinchin can develop tailored training to support a school board in their implementation of COVID-19 Management Practices. This could include cleaning training for Custodial Staff or training on COVID-19 Management Procedures for all teachers, parents, students, and other stakeholders.
We would be happy to provide any support we can as school boards navigate through these unprecedented times. Contact your local Pinchin office or call us toll-free at 1-855-PINCHIN (746.2446).