Art-On-A-Cart: Sanitary Measures


Those dreaded sanitary measures… can we all agree that they just SUCK?! Aside from having to wear a procedural mask and safety glasses from 8am to 3pm, sanitization of art materials was probably the part I worried about the most upon my return from a year-long maternity back in December 2020.

It’s important to note that sanitary measures will vary greatly depending on your school, district/board, state/province and country!

At my school board, in southern Quebec, we are required to sanitize materials and surfaces with OXYVIR. Only teachers and staff are allowed to handle this heavy-duty disinfectant product, not the students. Luckily, once a surface or object has been sprayed you have two options: (1) you can let it sit for a few seconds and wipe it off with a paper towel OR (2) you can let it sit for 1 or 2 hours and the product will vaporize on its own.

I use the OXYVIR product on tables and chairs, in addition to any other surfaces that may have been touched by myself after each session. As a result, this means extra time needs to be set aside for disinfection, in addition to our usual clean-up time.

At my school, many of the homeroom teachers have set up a table or zone for the specialists to use safely, which evidently helps me contain my germs in a particular area. However, let’s be real: I use the same whiteboard and chairs as everyone else. So I need to be mindful of the fact that I must disinfect all of the places and spaces I might have possibly touched with my hands.

Needless to say, I have materials and equipment that only I touch on my art cart (dry erase markers, laptop, etc.). In turn, I am decreasing the number of items I need to disinfect at the end of each class I teach.

I strongly advise that you speak with your administrator, district/board, and familiarize yourself with their sanitary standards and protocols. I know in Quebec the government is very strict when it comes to sanitary measures and protocols.

Tips I’ve heard from other art teachers that you might find useful:

  • Create art kits for each student or class. Depending on the rules in place at your school, students may or may not be allowed to share materials/supplies within their bubbles. In Quebec they are allowed, so that works to my advantage.
  • Ask parents to supply their child with their own art kit: markers, pencil crayons, oil pastels, permanent markers, tape, glue, scissors, watercolor set, brushes, etc.
  • I’ve heard of art teachers using a hair salon mister to sanitize oil pastels with a light mist. Not sure what affect this has on the material itself, though. Proceed with caution!
  • For items that are porous or made of paper/cardboard, you will need to quarantine them for 2-3 days.
  • Use the beginning of your spares or breaks to manage sanitization of art materials/supplies.
  • Non-porous items like paint brushes and ink rollers can be easily soaked in hot soapy water for a few minutes and disinfected an hour before intended use.
  • Remember: it’s good practice to let items (that have been recently sanitized) sit for an hour while you teach another group. They should be good to go upon your return!

Want to learn more about how to be efficient and more productive teaching art-on-a-cart? Be sure to check out my Art-on-a-Cart Toolkit and Art Teacher Guide over on Teachers Pay Teachers. I also have an article that I wrote back in November about my Top 5 Tips For Teaching Art-on-a-Cart.

Cheers, Stephanie


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