School is Out, Summer Cleaning and Facilities Work is In

The school year is ending and it’s finally time to start thinking about the summer cleaning and maintenance work that’s ahead. While not always recognized, we all know the monumental task that is summer facilities work, including deep cleaning of all classrooms, HVAC maintenance, vendor work, waxing of the floors, and other more detailed work. 

In this article, we will go through how to plan, schedule and keep track of who is doing what work, what tasks have been completed, and when they were completed this summer. 

Breaking Down Your Summer Cleaning Process

Summer facilities work is an administrative challenge, including multiple teams and vendors doing work for and in each location across your school district. However, difficult doesn't mean impossible. With a clear strategy and communication plan, you can ensure a smooth and successful experience when preparing your facilities for the upcoming school year.

Here’s how some of the leading school districts are best managing their own summer strategies:


It’s a big switch between the tasks and responsibilities of employees during the school year and during the summer, especially when there are hundreds of people making this switch across districts. 

It is crucial that the work that needs to be done over the summer months is completed in the most efficient manner and that nothing is forgotten. Because of this, preparation must start months in advance to make sure everything is in order by the end of the school year. 

  • Staffing: In the summer cleaning process, team allocation is integral. You must know how much staff is needed to do the required tasks in each school and building. This leads to hiring or making sure you have the correct number of staff with the knowledge necessary for the summer cleaning process. Temporary workers are also hired for this period, and they need to be trained and utilized properly within the schedules. For these temporary staff, training by priority is the best way to ensure they are used to their full potential.
  • Compile All Tasks: This includes laying out everything that needs to be accomplished during the summer cleaning process, and having a clear understanding of all parts. Accomplish this by making a schedule of what needs to be done each month in order of importance. There is a limited amount of time to finish all the tasks, so it is important to assign them by priority and timing to ensure all the work is completed.
  • Vendor Partners: There are some tasks and initiatives, such as HVAC, plumbing, or carpeting, where you will need outside expertise to come in to complete. You must determine ahead of time when is the best time for these vendors to do their part of the summer cleaning process to where it will not interfere with what your own team members need to accomplish. This type of work can be hard to schedule so it’s advantageous to identify this early in the process.

Planning and Scheduling

Clarity should be the backbone of the whole summer cleaning process. Proper planning and preparation ensures that everything gets done smoothly and there is no confusion that leads to wasted time.

  • Individualize: After finishing the preparation stage, go into depth and give each summer cleaning team member a checklist of what to complete each day. Members will be given different tasks and in different orders, so it's important they understand ahead of time what they will be doing. Some organizations leverage mobile-first facilities apps to give their employees their task lists for a given day or week.
  • Avoiding Conflicts: While doing this, make sure the cleaning schedule accommodates any maintenance projects that are also scheduled during this time. It’s possible to have overlapping timelines between cleaning and maintenance, so communication here is important to avoid conflicts between schedules.
  • Timing: Create daily and weekly tasks lists with each room or location, personnel, and time that way you can keep everyone on track. It can be helpful to make the task list update dynamically through digital technologies so that it is easy to see which tasks are on time, falling behind, or ahead of schedule.
  • Multitasking: With the time constraint that is summer break, it’s important to not waste time between tasks while, for instance, having to wait for something to dry. An example would be cleaning multiple rooms at a time in alternating steps, that way you don’t have to wait and waste time before starting the next step. It is also important to note that there will be multiple people in a room at the same time, but accomplishing different tasks.
  • Order of Cleaning: It is common and recommended that cleaning starts in the classrooms farthest away from the center, where the most foot traffic takes place. It is also recommended that cleaning begins in classrooms and ends in hallways, and that the hallways be cleaned in the same order as the classrooms. 

Training and Day-to-Day Operations

Summer cleaning work is much different than the everyday tasks that employees perform during the school year. All employees must receive specific training for the new tasks to be accomplished during the summer. Let the department heads across the district work together when at this phase to encourage collaboration and expert advice for all team members. 

  • Safety: It is very important to go over the safety information with employees who will be completing the summer cleaning ahead of time, clarifying that they put their own safety ahead of the job they are completing. 
  • Specialize: When training, break groups up into the specified equipment and supplies they will be using. This limits time wasted on unnecessary explanations.
  • Train the Trainer: It can be very helpful to task the Head Custodians with the training of their own team members. This gives ownership to the leaders and ensures that everything is done correctly and is validated.
  • Kick Off Event: Hosting a kick off event for each school or together as a department with food and drinks can be a great way to identify the change in strategy for the teams who will be completing the summer cleaning process.
  • Just in Time Training: With the time constraint that comes with summer break, there might not be enough time for training for every task that needs to be completed. This is where cleaning training and videos that members can view on-demand comes in handy. Whether through an app or through documentation while on site, members can view a short demonstration before completing the task themselves.

Supplies and Equipment

Having the supplies and equipment needed to complete all summer cleaning tasks is equally as important as knowing how to do it. Products and equipment are going to wear out over time, which is normal but it’s best to get ahead of it. The summer cleaning process has a major time constraint, so resolving problems like these before they happen can help accomplish a smoother process overall.

  • Quantities and Conditions: Ensure all supplies are in sufficient quantities and conditions to last the duration of the summer cleaning work. It is especially important to check all equipment for both custodial and maintenance tasks to ensure they will be able to perform successfully.
  • Easy Reporting of Broken Equipment/Supplies: Whether supplies are running low or important equipment breaks, you need to provide an easy and centralized way for team members to let their supervisors or principal know. It’s integral to include this information in your training of employees and create an environment where employees feel comfortable to report something happening, such as rewarding team members for identifying this.

Save Time and Money by Moving From Pen and Paper to Digital Validation Technology

For most school districts, the current legacy method for validating and tracking Summer Facilities work is simply just pen and paper checklists. It’s a tried and tested method and for some organizations a very comprehensive process.

However, it also comes with some major drawbacks. Pen and paper logs can get damaged or lost, compiling and storing the data takes a lot of time and ample storage space and understanding the real-time progress made during the summer is incredibly difficult. So when the Superintendent or School Board ask about progress for your cleaning and building work, it can be difficult to provide an accurate and detailed response.

That’s where we are seeing a trend with schools moving toward digital cleaning technologies to better train, execute and validate facilities and cleaning operations in the summer. With a mobile device, team members are able to easily validate when specific tasks have been completed in a building or location, include pictures of the completed work and report any issues they run into. The end result is a real-time view in the progress of all work completed by building/school and location.

School facilities leaders that go digital find that the centralized data and process enables them to be more nimble in their strategy, identify bottlenecks sooner and most importantly, can provide detailed progress reports to leadership on summer progress. With real time updates and pictures as proof of work being completed, those in leadership roles are also able to quickly check in on the quality of the work being done. This saves time that would otherwise be wasted from having to track down specific people, check quality on-site or have projects stalled with broken equipment. 

There are also some tasks that need a supervisor’s approval before they are completed. By using technology to report and log when tasks are completed, a superior can be notified while the employee moves onto a different task so it can be approved with no time wasted.

Technology can be a big help in making the summer cleaning process a little easier, but also in looking back at what has been done. Collecting everything in one place creates an opportunity in protecting data—you can’t lose the completed checklist if it’s all logged on an app. Is your district or organization looking to move on from paper logs and checklists? Cleaning Validation solutions like CrowdComfort can help drive this move to digital audit logs.

Want to Increase Your Summer Cleaning Knowledge? 

For more information and tips like the ones previously discussed, check out our Summer Cleaning Webinar, “5 Ways to Improve Your Summer Cleaning and Maintenance Strategy” on June 27th, 2023 at 2pm ET. The webinar will be run by industry experts, Dan Ringo and Chris Brablc, talking about how top schools districts are managing their own summer cleaning successfully. You can register for the webinar HERE.

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