Clean playgrounds keep kids active – and parents sane – during COVID-19

Cronkite News is reporting on acts of humanity in Arizona communities, sharing the big and small ways people are helping each other in the era of coronavirus.

PHOENIX – With COVID-19 keeping children at home, one Arizona business owner started cleaning playgrounds during the pandemic – free of charge.

Ryan Johnson owns Thee Window Ninjas, a window cleaning and pressure washing company in the East Valley. As novel coronavirus began to spread and stay-at-home orders were put in place, Johnson deployed employees to playgrounds for free deep cleanings.

“We get 10 percent sodium hypochlorite, which is bleach. We spray it over everything, let it dwell for about five minutes so it can soak up any virus and germs, and then we rinse it really well … with the pressure washer,” Johnson said.

Debi Chavez, owner of Wee Blessings Preschool, saw firsthand the results of Johnson’s efforts after the company sprayed down the playgrounds at her Chandler and Queen Creek locations.

“It looks amazing. It smells amazing. And I just feel really good about the fact that they did this for free,” she said. “They didn’t ask for anything. They wouldn’t even take a tip. … They were just doing it as a community outreach.”

Johnson, who started his business in August 2018, hopes that by helping kids and families stay active in a safe way, he can reduce the spread of COVID-19 and build name recognition.

“Our hope of course first is to help the community but also to let people know who we are,” he said.

Chavez, for one, was grateful.

“Everybody’s anxious, everybody’s nervous, and helping one another for the good of the cause is what we all should be doing,” she said. “So I just thank them so much from the bottom of my heart – and from all of our little preschoolers.”

Gov. Doug Ducey has ordered Arizona schools closed through the end of the school year to help stop the spread of novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

Health Reporter, Phoenix

Melanie Porter was born and raised in Arizona and is an undergraduate studyin journalism. She is a broadcast reporter covering health for Cronkite News.