Getting Rid of the Dirt - The School must get Clean!

Ronja Stein, Jennifer Ulrich

project report

When we moved from our primary school to St. Michael-Gymnasium in August 1999, we were bothered by the dirt in our new school. Therefore we wanted to identify the origins of this problem.

Initially, we studied the condition of the rooms after cleaning by the cleaning staff and we found that the school was not always clean after being cleaned. On the one hand, this resulted from one third of the cleaners not being present during our study as they often quit due to low wages. On the other hand, we found that the students leave a lot of waste.

Using questionnaires at our school and another school for comparison, we found that the students perceived the classrooms at our school as much dirtier than those at the other school. As our school has significantly fewer cleaners, we want to discuss this problem with the mayor. The results relating to the condition of the hallways, staircases, toilets and the smell were similar. With regard to the causes of dirt and smells, the students generally agree that they themselves are too untidy and that the teachers should pay more attention to this. Therefore, we have created a cleaning rota for our school and we have posted it in every classroom. The caretaker checks the rooms after school and informs the principle about any problems, who then contacts the teacher who used the room last.

Another problem is lack of soap, paper towels and toilet paper, which are essential for the prevention of diarrhoea according to Prof. Exner from the society for hygiene and microbiology. We have asked our principal to remind the cleaners to pay particular attention to this. At the same time, dirt at school does not cause infections according to Dr. Wenchel from the hygiene institute in Cologne.

We are planning to conduct another investigation in January in order to find out whether our school has become cleaner.

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