Soap shortage: Teachers using metho to clean classrooms


TEACHERS have resorted to spraying methylated spirits and water to clean classrooms as a frontline bid to halt the coronavirus, while the state is gripped by a shortage of sanitiser and soap.

Powerful teacher unions have demanded the Department of Education ensure there is enough hand sanitiser and soap for teachers who are still at schools while they remain open to the children of essential workers.

However, Education Minister Grace Grace has revealed after working with the Queensland Teachers' Union and the United Workers Union that they have allocated additional resources to ramp up cleaning in every school.

"We will continue to work with principals and school communities to provide enough supplies to ensure we navigate through this unprecedented crisis," she said.

The Queensland Teachers' Union welcomed the decision to have student-free days for the final week of term from Monday, but said supplies of sanitiser and other cleaning products still needed to be maintained for any time when schools were open.

This week the QTU sent the Queensland Department of Education a list of more than 45 schools they said did not have enough soap, sanitiser and protective equipment.

"It (cleaning products) simply couldn't be manufactured fast enough … we've got a shortage across the community," QTU president Kevin Bates said.

The Teachers' Professional Association of Queensland (TPAQ) welcomed the move to student-free days from Monday, with essential workers still able to send their children to schools.

However, it is aware of at least 80 schools without enough protective sanitiser, and urged teachers to be cautious on Monday after their schools had been used as council election polling booth locations.

A teacher reported to TPAQ that their Logan school's administration has made various attempts to secure supply of sanitiser with no success.

"We are using our own purchased Glen 20 spray," the teacher said.
He said he had begun to mix methylated spirits and water to spray work benches between classes.

Originally published as Teachers using metho to clean classrooms

Queensland Teachers' Union president Kevin Bates.
Queensland Teachers' Union president Kevin Bates.