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How Valley View's "Green Cleaning Initiative" is Helping the Environment

Valley View School District 365U is using microfiber cleaning products, new floor scrubbers and "green chemicals" to clean its facilities.

Editor's note: The following is a press release from Valley View School District 365U. 

While the great efforts put forth by Valley View School District 365U teachers, paraprofessionals and administrators are playing a key role in “The New View: A Design for Change,” another group of individuals is working equally as hard behind the scenes to make sure VVSD children are able to learn in high-performance environments.

“There is a well-documented correlation between air quality and student performance,” said Mike Lopez, Director of Facility Operations for VVSD.

That’s why Lopez and his team have partnered with GCA Services in an environmentally-friendly “green cleaning initiative” that Lopez says “goes beyond” the requirements of the fairly new Illinois Green Cleaning Schools Act.

GCA Services, which has handled building cleaning chores in VVSD for well over a decade, began using microfiber cleaning products this year rather than cotton rags.

“Most people aren’t aware of the benefit of microfiber products but using them has a significant impact on the classroom because they are capable of capturing more dust particles than traditional cotton products, which means there are fewer dust particles floating around in the air,” said Jim Wayne, VVSD’s Facility Operations Leadman.

VVSD has also purchased new floor scrubbers that utilize ion-charging ECH2O technology. In layman’s terms, that means electrically-charged water particles are used to aggressively break down dirt particles and then collect them in the water-only solution, thus eliminating the need to use harsh floor cleaning supplies.

“This is high tech stuff,” said Wayne. “It’s more effective at picking up dirt and a much more sustainable method of doing so.”

Something else that is more effective at picking up dirt is the new walk-off mats at building entrances. The mats are able to catch and hold more dirt than normal mats. Each year VVSD has been routinely replacing worn mats with the new walk off mats at various schools.

In addition, Wayne said, VVSD is using more green chemicals on a daily basis for desktop and surface cleaning and glass cleaning as well as in bathrooms, including drying towels, toilet tissue and hand washing materials.

VVSD continues to maintain hand sanitizers throughout all of its facilities and is an active recycler of many materials.

“This all contributes to a high performance learning environment,” he said. “When air quality isn’t good and the buildings are not kept clean, there is a real impact on the well being and attendance of both students and staff.

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