When someone mentions an MRSA outbreak, many people's minds go straight to hospitals. However, MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) can spread anywhere in a community -- including in a school. In 2011, statistics showed that 15 to 20% of all Staphylococcus aureus infections were as a result of community-acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA), and the figure was increasing. If you want to reduce the risk of this potentially deadly bacteria sweeping through your school, follow these 2 tips.

Clean the Walls & Floors in Your Gym & Bathrooms

Does it come as any surprise that these places are an ideal hub for bacteria to grow? MRSA thrives in areas that are damp and warm, including toilets, communal showers, and sweaty exercise equipment. Ensure all rooms that fit these criteria are thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis. While your current cleaners may already claim to disinfect these areas, are you sure their methods are thorough enough to remove all traces of MRSA? For example, how much attention do they pay to the tiling in these rooms? Thorough tile and grout cleaning is essential in removing bacteria. Though tiles themselves are seen as a hygienic wall and floor covering, the same can't be said for the grout that holds them together. Many types of grout are highly porous, absorbing anything that comes their way. If the grout in your school looks discoloured in any way, it's probably full of dirt and bacteria and you'll need a deep clean to remove it.

Enforce Hand Washing Before Lunchtime

At home, most people wash their hands before eating a meal. At school, many students forget this simple practice, or don't want to waste their lunch time in the bathroom. However, keeping hands clean is the best way to protect against germs. Consider making hand-washing a part of the daily school routine. How you make this work will depend on your usual school timetable and the age of the students, among other things. For young children, it may be easiest to cut a few minutes out of the class before lunch and assign this new slot to hand-washing. Have the teacher escort pupils to the bathroom so they don't forget to wash their hands. If you have older students or different pupils eat at different times of day, you can install wall-mounted hand sanitizer units by the doors in all classrooms. Ask every teacher who has a class before lunchtime to make sure that students spray their hands with sanitizer as they walk out of the door.