Keeping Your Schools Safe with Proper Device Hygiene

Joseph Lee


Although the main way to transmit COVID-19 is through respiratory droplets, current evidence from the CDC suggests that the virus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. This includes digital learning devices like iPads, Macs and Chromebooks.

Because COVID-19 is more contagious than most viruses, it has forced us to look closely at the value of hygiene as a means to staying healthy. We teach students to wash their hands regularly with portable washing stations and hand-sanitizer stations, so it makes sense that we should also teach them how to properly clean and disinfect their learning devices.

Even in the absence of COVID-19, good device hygiene is important. One study found more than 17,000 bacteria gene copies per phone from a sample of 27 high school students. The efforts with good hand hygiene is diminished if good device hygiene practices aren’t in place at home and at school.

Keeping devices clean isn’t difficult and it doesn’t take long. It just takes persistence. Here are some best practices:

  1. Teach students the correct way to clean and sanitize devices. This includes unplugging and powering down devices. Guidance from Apple says that devices can be disinfected by using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipe on the display, keyboard and exterior surfaces. Don’t use sprays or bleaches on devices.
  2. Set up cleaning stations around the school. Provide easy access to disinfecting wipes next to classroom hand sanitizer stations.
  3. Do a deep clean once a semester. If devices have cases that are easy to remove, teach students how to remove them safely and clean the device and case using the same method as above. If cases are difficult to remove, it’s better to skip this step.

In addition to reducing the spread of germs, there are other advantages to implementing a regular device cleaning routine. As students learn to clean devices, they also learn to take better care of them. Many times, this process uncovers damage that doesn’t necessarily impair the function, but if you have AppleCare+, getting repairs done for free (up to twice a year per device), ensures a well-maintained fleet.

Finally, when students clean their devices regularly, they tend to have higher residual value at the end of their useful school life. With better care and maintenance of devices, they will fetch a higher price at sellback time, which can help offset the cost of the next technology refresh.

I’d love the hear your ideas for keeping your edtech devices clean. Send them to me at