Cleaning And Disinfection Protocols

Cleaning and disinfecting protocols for Capital Region BOCES’ school facilities

The following is the framework for cleaning and disinfection protocols for Capital Region BOCES’ school facilities. It incorporates guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the New York State Education Department (NYSED) including “Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes,”  “Recovering, Rebuilding, and Renewing: The Spirit of New York’s Schools Reopening Guidance” and “Cleaning and Disinfecting your Facility.”

This framework is based on doing the following:

  • normal routine cleaning with soap and water will decrease how much of the virus is on surfaces and objects, which reduces the risk of exposure.
  • disinfection using EPA-approved disinfectants against COVID-19, which can also help reduce the risk.
  • when EPA-approved disinfectants are not available, using alternative disinfectants (for example, 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water; 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water or 70% alcohol solutions).

If an area has been unoccupied for 7 days or more, it will only need your normal routine cleaning to reopen.   

Evaluating Surfaces

Most surfaces and objects will just need normal routine cleaning. For example, surfaces and objects that are not frequently touched should be cleaned, but do not require additional disinfection. Additionally, disinfectants should typically not be applied on items used by children, especially any items that children might put in their mouths. In collaboration with the building principal, it will be determined what items can be moved or removed completely from schools to reduce frequent handling or contact from multiple people. 

Soft and Porous Materials

Soft and porous materials, such as area rugs and seating, may be removed or stored to reduce the challenges with cleaning and disinfecting them. As possible, soft and porous classroom materials should not be used. Custodial staff should routinely report to the principal the presence of soft or porous materials after final determinations have been made regarding removing materials from the building.

Soft and porous materials that are not frequently touched should only be cleaned or laundered, following the directions on the item’s label, using the warmest appropriate water setting. 

In the case of permanent carpeting, vacuuming should occur as usual with the addition of an EPA approved disinfectant, as appropriate, based on area utilization. 

Frequently Touched Surfaces

Frequently touched surfaces and objects need to be cleaned and then disinfected at least once daily after students have left for the day to further reduce the risk of germs on surfaces and objects. If a laboratory confirmed case of COVID-19 was symptomatic while in the school setting, custodial staff should perform cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched areas throughout the school. These surfaces include but are not limited to:

  • Bathrooms
  • Administrative offices
  • Frequently touched surfaces in common areas
  • Break rooms
  • Meal/lunch tables
  • Computer labs
  • Science labs
  • Classrooms
  • Maintenance offices and work areas
  • School vehicles
  • Libraries
  • Large meeting areas

Outside Areas

  • Outside areas, including playgrounds, benches, high touch surfaces made of plastic or metal, such as grab bars and railings etc., should be routinely cleaned.
  • Do not spray disinfectant on outdoor playgrounds.
  • Cleaning and disinfection of wooden surfaces (play structures, benches, tables) or ground covers (mulch, sand) is not recommended.

School Health Offices

  • School health office cleaning must occur after each use of cots or the bathroom.
  • Health office equipment (e.g. blood pressure cuffs, otoscopes, stethoscopes, etc.) should be cleaned following manufacturer’s directions.
  • Disposable items should be used as much as possible including:
    • Disposable pillow protectors.
    • Disposable thermometers, or disposable thermometer sheaths or probes.
    • Disposable otoscope specula.


For clothing, towels, linens and other items:

  • Launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
  • Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from a person who is sick.
  • Dirty laundry from a person who is sick can be washed with other people’s items.
  • Do not shake dirty laundry.
  • Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance below for surfaces.
  • Remove gloves, and wash hands right away.

Cleaning Process

  • Put on gloves and other required personal protective equipment (PPE) to begin the process of cleaning and disinfecting.
  • Always wear gloves appropriate for the chemicals being used for routine cleaning and disinfecting. Follow the directions on the disinfectant label for additional PPE needs.
  • Clean visibly dirty surfaces with soap and water.
  • Clean surfaces and objects using soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • When finished cleaning, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Disinfect using an EPA-approved disinfectant:
    • If an EPA-approved disinfectant is unavailable, use 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water; 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water, or 70% alcohol solutions to disinfect.
    • Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products together. 
    • Always closely follow the instructions on the label for all cleaning and disinfection products for concentration, dilution, application method, contact time and any other special considerations when applying.
    • Students should not be present when disinfectants are in use and should not participate in cleaning and/or disinfection activities.


Schools, in collaboration with the Coordinator of Facilities, must identify cleaning needs and disinfection frequency for each facility and area type, and a log must be maintained that includes the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection in the facility or area.

Questions about cleaning protocols can be directed to