Safe Sanitation and Disinfection Practices

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ATSDR guides safe sanitation and disinfection practices in homes, schools, and daycares during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As information and best practices emerged for preventing the spread of COVID-19, ATSDR led the effort to provide guidance on recommended safe sanitation and disinfection practices for homes, schools, and daycare facilities. With funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act, ATSDR supported Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSUs) and state health departments to provide this guidance and outreach to facilities that had experienced or were actively working to prevent outbreaks of COVID-19 and other emerging infectious diseases.

Within two months of receiving the CARES funds, ATSDR, with coordination from the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), established the COVID-19 Early Care and Education Collaborativeexternal icon. Consisting of five national partner organizations — NEHA, the Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN), the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), the National Center for Healthy Homes (NCHH), and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials— the Collaborative’s stakeholders also include

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Environmental health professionals

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Local/city/county health officials

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Early care education owners and interest groups

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State environmental health directors

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Healthy housing officials

Collaborative partners have met monthly since September 2020 to share activities, ideas, best practices, and needs from their membership related to COVID-19 in Early Care and Education (ECE) facilities. The organizations plan to continue meeting, even without future funding, because the collaborative structure successfully brings partners together to work on joint activities.

The Collaborative has developed resources to mitigate COVID-19 in ECE facilities and to guide professionals on safe cleaning and disinfection practices. The following are other notable achievements of the Collaborative:


ATSDR funded the Association of State Public Health Nutritionists (ASPHN) to develop the Clean Away COVID-19 campaign,external icon which provides information on disinfecting homes and protecting loved ones against COVID-19. The primary audience for the PEHSU-endorsed campaign was Women, Infants, and Children program participants and the general public. ASPHN and PEHSUs have actively promoted it to partners and on social media platforms: to date, the site has garnered over 14,000-page views and over 8,800 unique visits, and the Clean Away COVID-19 music video on YouTube has had over 2,500 views in English and over 150 views in Spanish. The campaign was also shared with the Nutrition Council of Oregon, and other state colleagues, and presented to the NACCHO Maternal Child Adolescent Health Workgroup. The Department of Health from Washington State’s Environment Health Program has used the campaign materials to promote safe cleaning practices in childcare education centers.

Page last reviewed: December 29, 2021