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Back to School Readiness: A Comprehensive Guide to Preparing Your Facilities

With back to school quickly approaching, now is the perfect time for school districts to consider how to prepare their facilities for the upcoming year. A sound facilities maintenance program helps to ensure school facilities will be cared for appropriately. Overlooked or ignored facilities maintenance planning can result in real problems, causing large capital expenses, downtime and disruption in the classroom.

The top priority at any school is to keep students and staff safe and comfortable, and procurement and facilities management teams have a huge impact. By leveraging a cooperative contract through OMNIA Partners to streamline your procurement process, Lawson Products can assist with a clear plan for inspecting, servicing and maintaining facilities for the new year and beyond. Here are a few of the most important tasks Lawson recommends completing before school is back in session.

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Check Safety Equipment

Safety equipment, labeling and documentation must be maintained along with fire department and manufacturer testing.

  • Test fire alarm systems. Test and calibrate flame and smoke sensors, replace batteries or bulbs if applicable.
  • Inspect fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers also require annual inspections by qualified personnel. Make sure all extinguishers are clearly labeled, up-to-date and functioning properly.
  • Check emergency systems. Ensure all backup lights and generators are in top shape, and that evacuation plans are prominently posted in every room.
  • Confirm chemicals are safe. Cleaning solutions, landscaping supplies or any other chemicals on school grounds require proper, safe storage. Make sure every chemical is labeled and stored properly, in the right place and ensure accompanying Safety Data Sheets are in place.

Inspect HVAC Systems

  • Boiler. Conduct visual inspections for leaks, rust, corrosion, water pressure inaccuracies and alarm system functionality.
  • Exhaust fans and vents. Conduct visual inspections for loose belts, nuts, bolts and bearings, and listen for any abnormal sounds. Clean shafts to make sure air is flowing properly.
  • Air conditioners. Conduct visual inspections for damage and debris near vents or condenser fans. Clean or replace filters, coils or fins.

Review the Ins & Outs of All Buildings

  • Windows and doors. Ensure all windows and doors open and close as they should, and that grout and seals are intact. Repair any cracked panes, sticky locks or broken latches.
  • Sinks, showers and toilets. Check for leaks and proper drainage, test water pressure, and ensure assets are tightened, caulked, sealed and properly tiled.
  • Exhaust hoods, stoves and grills. Ensure all are clean, free of grease and dust using low-fume, high-cling formula products such as Drummond™ Burn-Out Oven and Grill Cleaner to efficiently remove burned-on carbon, grease, food and oily residue. Have exhaust hoods inspected at regular intervals, typically six months.
  • Gutters and downspouts. Keep drains working properly by inspecting gutters and downspouts for leaks or clogs, and clean everything. If water is pooling next to school buildings, consider a re-engineering of outdoor drainage to prevent larger issues over time.

Look Around the Property & GroundsLawson_Q3 Back to School Blog_Image 2

Walk the property and review the grounds for anything that might cause slips, trips or falls.

  • Trim any trees or shrubs that encroach on walkways or parking areas.
  • Repair any bare patches in lawns, re-mulch beds and plan for any event-related plantings.
  • Adjust irrigation and sprinkler systems for maximum efficiency.
  • Ensure you are ready for rain, snow and ice with matting and ice melters.

Clean & Disinfect

A thorough cleaning and disinfecting strategy continues to be important. In addition to doing a deep clean before students and staff return, disinfecting high-touch surfaces and spaces on a regular schedule is needed.

  • Choose appropriate cleaning and disinfecting products such as Drummond™ Lifeguard Disinfectant Detergent Cleaner and Deodorant to control the spread of harmful germs and bacteria while removing dirt and soil from most washable hard surfaces including floors, walls, countertops, porcelain and hard plastics.
  • Conduct deep cleaning and disinfection of all facilities and surfaces.
  • Audit cleaning and disinfection schedules.

Procurement and facilities management teams have a lot to do to be ready for the return of students and staff. Lawson Products, a distributor of maintenance and repair products in North America, helps school systems across North America have the right products for every job. The Company offers cooperative contracting solutions through OMNIA Partners, available for all public agencies to leverage for their facilities' unique needs. Lawson’s inventory management solution:

  • Eliminates time spent taking inventory and re-ordering small parts
  • Minimizes time spent looking for products
  • Reduces unplanned trips to off-site stores looking for parts
  • Includes product application advice and on-site training
  • Lessens project downtime by having the right parts stocked and ready for use


About OMNIA Partners and Lawson Products
Lawson Products is a leading distributor of fleet and facility maintenance products in North America. We serve state and local governments, school districts, colleges, and universities on our competitively solicited and publicly awarded cooperative contract available through OMNIA Partners, Public Sector. Participating agencies have access to a variety of maintenance and repair products and solutions offered by Lawson Products. Not a participant of OMNIA Partners? Become one today!