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Reducing absenteeism with antimicrobial copper

Richard van den Bos, from Allgood plc, discusses how antimicrobial copper ironmongery can significantly reduce absenteeism in schools

Posted by Hannah Vickers | May 17, 2017 | Interiors

Student absenteeism due to illness is on the rise; latest figures from the Department for Education show that 54.5 million school days were missed in England alone in the 2014/15 academic year. On average, this equates to each pupil missing two full weeks of school per year. 

Absence from school has a direct correlation to a pupil’s performance, with research from the Department for Education showing that pupils within the lowest 5% of overall absence rates are 3.3 times more likely to achieve level 5 or above in reading and maths than their peers. 

In the 2014/15 academic year, a total of 2.22 million days were lost due to teacher sickness

Furthermore, teacher absence due to sickness is a concern. In the 2014/15 academic year, a total of 2.22 million days were lost due to teacher sickness. A significant additional cost for schools, the cost for supply cover can be between £150-£200 per day, per teacher. 

Therefore, lowering absence rates is a priority for all educational establishments. The most prevalent reason for absence is illnesses such as the common cold or sore throat, so it is crucial to look towards preventing the spread of infection within the classroom environment. 

A proven method of preventing the spread of viruses in public facilities is by incorporating antimicrobial copper ironmongery into the establishment.

Copper contains antimicrobial properties intrinsic to the metal that effectively kill pathogens, bacteria and viruses, with laboratory tests proving that copper breaks down and kills 99.9% of bacteria within two hours of contact.

Clinical trials using antimicrobial copper have demonstrated its effectiveness on common microbes, including influenza, norovirus and salmonella enterica – proving its efficacy at eradicating easily transferrable illnesses. 

Furthermore, as the properties are intrinsic to the metal, these properties never wear out. This is particularly pertinent for schools, as a study from the University of Arizona has shown that contamination of a single doorknob can cause a virus to spread amongst a public place in as little as two to four hours.

With children being in school approximately six hours a day - not including after school clubs and extracurricular activities - the average child in the United Kingdom currently spends 1,170 hours on average in school a year. With illnesses able to spread so rapidly, staff and pupils risk being continuously exposed to bacteria and sickness.

Antimicrobial Copper is the most effective touch surface material in the fight against pathogenic microbes and has been scientifically proven to be more effective than conventional materials. By integrating antimicrobial copper ironmongery into an educational environment, the spread of germs and viruses can be combated as the metal effectively breaks the chain of infection.

Combining the antimicrobial properties of copper with the appearance of stainless steel, the Contego ironmongery range from Allgood presents the ideal solution for education environments. Approved in accordance with the International Copper Association’s industry stewardship scheme, the Cu+ certified range includes cabinet handles, lever handles, push plates, coat hooks, WC turns, indicators and releases - ensuring the continuous prevention of bacteria spreading throughout the building.

Common illness and absenteeism are significant factors that affect a child’s academic progression. By incorporating antimicrobial copper alloy ironmongery throughout a building, the spread of illnesses can be reduced to help limit absenteeism and the costly need for external supply teachers.

For more information visit Allgood plc's website

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