One particular week this past winter, I caught some of my preschool kids sucking on their sit spots. Ew!! The classes were also getting smaller and smaller, from kids staying home sick. Then COVID-19 came. We closed mid-March, but before that, I was wondering how to sanitize instruments and manipulatives during the few minutes I have between classes?
Then, it hit me… hula hoops! I was already using hula hoops to collect materials. For example, we were doing a lesson on parades and marching bands, and each child had an instrument for marching. As we wrapped up, they walked past the hoops and put their instruments down. Collecting them this way was such a timesaver.
Break Out the Lysol Spray!
After the class left, the generic Lysol spray entered. I made a sweeping motion over the instruments, flipped them over, and sprayed the other side. I also did this when using Beat Buddies, which can’t be wiped down with wipes or other cleaners. Now, they were all ready for the next class to use. This is especially helpful when I used scarves and Beat Buddies since I can’t wash them between classes.
Don’t Touch Your Face
Now for a disclaimer. It is currently the end of May 2020. The current CDC guidelines state that transmission of COVID-19 from touching objects is rather low. The risk of transmission becomes higher when people touch something with the virus and then touch their face, mouth, eyes, etc.
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the primary way the virus spreads, but we are all still learning more.https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-covid-spreads.html
This is why I had a giant pump of hand sanitizer waiting for kids at the door while they lined-up. The real issue moving forward next year is person-to-person spread via respiratory droplets. I’m waiting to see what schools will look like in the fall and how this will be addressed. In the meantime, at least you have a new tip for sanitizing your materials.
Instrument Specific Recommendations
If you are looking for a list of which cleaners are best for classroom instruments, check these guidelines from West Music.
- They say most instruments can be wiped down or sprayed.
- Piano keys will crack, so use mild soap and water and microfiber cloths. Make sure the cloths are not very wet before wiping.
- Recorders can continue to go in the dishwasher.
- Be mindful of residue that may be left behind with metal instruments.
- Do not soak most classroom instruments.
- Orff bars can be wiped with disinfecting wipes, but if you don’t allow touching the bars, only mallets need cleaning.
- Other wood instruments may not be able to withstand regular disinfectant use.
- If you are using wipes on drum heads regularly, you will likely start to see markings (such as the Remo crown) fade and eventually disappear. It won’t affect the sound of the drum.
- For band instruments, I have experience using Sterisol to disinfect mouthpieces and recommend it. I used to clean 30 trumpet mouthpieces a day by soaking them in a mixture of water and Sterisol for at least 10 minutes. Then, I would rinse them out in a bucket of clean water and air dry on a clean towel.
- CDC guidelines for how long COVID-19 can last on surfaces:
- Brass – 5 Days
- Wood – 4 Days
- Plastic – 3 Days
- Strings – 3 Days
- Cork – 2 Days
I hope these tips were helpful. Leave your tips in the comments!