In years past, school maintenance crews would use extended holiday breaks to take care of projects that could not be done during a normal school day. Ardmore City Schools' operations director Chris Kennedy said that modern equipment now allows many of those projects, like floor buffing, to be done while students are on campus.

With students and teachers on a holiday break until the new year, Kennedy still has to utilize the emptiness of the buildings to undertake other big projects. “The main thing is getting ahead of the flu season, doing some of our deep cleaning that we don’t get to do (during the school year),” he said.

On Monday, two men started the disinfection process at Will Rogers Elementary School using equipment acquired about three years ago. In the past, building-wide disinfection required an initial cleaning to be followed up by a second wiping of surfaces. “It takes so many man hours to go back in and wipe all that down,” Kennedy said of the old method. “With our product, we’re in and out. We can cover a 98,000 square foot building in about 2 hours,” he said.

The two workers disinfecting at Will Rogers Elementary were in and out of one classroom in about three minutes.

According to Kennedy, all buildings across the Ardmore City School system will be disinfected over the course of four days. The cleaning system not only makes extended school breaks more productive for maintenance, but Kennedy said the equipment was also used during a school shutdown last year to prevent a flu outbreak.

While disinfecting school buildings is a priority, Kennedy said other projects around the district will also be done to utilize the empty campuses. Painting at Charles Evans Elementary, Ardmore High, and Take 2 Academy will be done, and floors at Take 2 Academy and Lincoln Elementary will be thoroughly cleaned. The Ardmore Middle School gym will be deep cleaned in preparation for basketball season, and high school science labs will also be deep cleaned.

At Jefferson Elementary, the near-daily cleanup from ongoing construction will also continue, Kennedy said.

“Outdoors, they’re going to see a lot of limbs picked up,” Kennedy said, adding that portions of the high school parking lot and faded outdoor railings would also be cleaned and painted. “Things we can’t get to while kids are there.”

Ardmore students return to classes on Jan. 7, 2020.