Columbia Public Schools Recognized for "Green" Cleaning

Related Story

COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools and the Columbia Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting Thursday after CPS became the third school district in the nation to earn a Green Clean School certification. The district earned this distinction after custodians and construction employees completed a green clean course on healthy cleaning procedures. The Rolla-based Green Clean Institute implements the program in school districts.

Green Clean Institute President David Thompson said the training teaches employees how to minimize the amount of toxins in the air while cleaning. For example, custodians could reduce the amount of ammonia-based cleaners that enter the air by spraying the chemical into a cloth before cleaning a surface. This means school districts do not necessarily need to replace cleaning products, just use them in a more environmentally friendly way. Thompson also said CPS uses sanitzers, not disinfectants, to reduce the amount of toxins in the air.

The employee training class required for school certification lasts about a full work day. CPS began integrating "green" cleaning products into daily procedures about two years ago. While the Green Clean Institute hopes to certify more school districts across the country, the others that earned the distinction are in New Franklin and Rolla, Mo.

CPS Superintendent Chris Belcher is pleased the program could keep students healthier. Belcher said about one-third of the population in Columbia will enter CPS facilities, and the program is expected to reduce the amount of flu cases and illness-related absences.