THE increase of cleaning across West Dunbartonshire schools will create more than 50 news jobs for the area.

All schools across the local authority will have additional day cleaners, and all secondary schools will have an increase in the number of evening cleaners.

The initial investment of approximately £300,000 will support the return to full-time education by reducing the risk of infection for pupils and staff, and lead to the recruitment of 55 new employees on temporary contracts.

Under the plans, each primary school will have a cleaner on site during the day to undertake regular and enhanced cleaning of high priority areas and frequently touched surfaces.

The five large secondary schools and Kilpatrick will be allocated a second day cleaner.

The cleaning teams in primary schools in the evenings will re-prioritise their work schedule to focus on touch points such as door handles, stair-rails, and main door panels.

Extensive hand cleaning will be encouraged during school hours for all pupils and staff, along with the use of hand sanitiser.

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Anti-bacterial spray and paper towels will also be provided to staff and pupils to clean down their desks, chairs, keyboards, and classroom surfaces.

Councillor Ian Dickson, convener of corporate services, said: “We must take measures to reduce the risk of infection in our schools during the recovery phase.

“Cleaning is a key part of that, and these extra resources will increase the level of cleaning taking place across all our schools by 1,000 hours per week.

“The secondary benefit of new jobs for local people will also be significant at a time when opportunities elsewhere could be limited.”

The council’s Early Learning Centres also have daily cleaning regimes in place.

Councillor Karen Conaghan, convener of education, added: “Speaking as a parent, I know I am reassured to hear that there will be cleaners on site during the day in every primary school, and two in secondary schools.

“I’m also pleased to see the extensive provision of hand sanitisers and the planned promotion of handwashing in our schools because we know that these measures will also be vital in controlling Covid-19.”