Keeping students safe: a costly commitment


Many supermarket shelves are empty due to high demand for cleaning supplies during COVID-19. (Photo credit: Wikimedia commons, under Creative Commons license.)

Since March of 2020, sales of cleaning supplies have skyrocketed due to the emergence of COVID-19.

Some of the cleaning products that have been in the highest demand since the start of the pandemic are aerosol disinfectants, bath and shower wipes, multipurpose cleaners, toilet paper and paper towels. According to, a website that tracks market data, aerosol disinfectants have increased sales by 385 percent, bath and shower wipes have gone up by 180 percent, multipurpose cleaners have increased about 150 percent, toilet paper has gone up 60 percent, and paper towels have increased by 50 percent.

Since Mount Carmel has been one of the few local schools doing in-person classes, a lot of money and resources have had to go towards cleaning supplies and other essentials to guarantee the safety of the Caravan community.

According to Dr. John Byrne, Mount Carmel Vice President of Operations, Mount Carmel works with M&M Cleaning Services to do most of the cleaning in the buildings. Deep cleaning is done at least once a week and the cost averages about $1,300 per month. In total, Mount Carmel has paid about $13,000 for extra labor in the last ten months.

Mount Carmel also has purchased new equipment to combat the challenge of COVID-19. Electro-static hand sprayers and backpacks cost about $10,900. The cost of additional wet-vacuums, burnishers floor scrubbers, and polisher was around $18,200. However, we have not received some of the cleaning equipment because of the high demand for cleaning supplies at the moment.

Mount Carmel has been purchasing COVID approved cleaning supplies like Clorox wipes, athletic wipes, paper towels, hand sanitizer, and hand sanitizer dispensers throughout this year. The average monthly cost for these supplies is $2,300 per month,  which is a total of $23,000 in the last 10 months.

Fortunately,  given the significant costs of the supplies, equipment, and labor that has been required during the pandemic, Mount  has Carmel been to apply for reimbursement from different governmental agencies for the additional expenses.

Byrne emphasized that keeping the Caravan community safe is the number one priority, and is essential for maintaining in-person classes.


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