Newsletter

Going Back to School Requires Back-to-Basics Hand Hygiene

With Covid-19 cases rising and cold and flu season on the horizon, schools must focus on common-sense cleaning and disinfecting practices if they want a safe return, the American Cleaning Institute says.

On Nov. 16, Fairfax County Public Schools will open in-person instruction for Early Head Start, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and special-education students receiving intensive supports and attending center-based programs, according to an update sent to parents on Oct. 23. In-person cohort learning will begin on Nov. 30 for grades 1-2 and special-education students in career centers.

In partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the ACI is asking schools and families to encourage children to wash their hands with soap at school and at home. Hand hygiene is a foundational habit for slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus and seasonal illnesses like influenza, especially in schools.

“It’s so simple and so important, especially at schools, as they plan to reopen,” said Brian Sansoni, the Senior Vice President of Communication, Outreach and Membership at the American Cleaning Institute.

But among adults in the United States, hand-washing rates are down compared to the start of the pandemic, according to a recent survey by the ACI. Parents play as big a role as schools in forming hand hygiene habits, Sansoni said.

“Kids see what parents do and don’t do,” he said. “Reinforcing habits at home is really important for setting examples.”

Schools must be extra diligent in communicating to parents the importance of hand-washing habits at home. Schools must also be hyper-vigilant in restocking soap and hand-sanitizer dispensers, and providing supervision and encouraging hand-washing before eating and after restroom use.

“Where the extra care is required, hopefully there is communication between parents and school staff,” Sansoni said.

Another common-sense practice is disinfecting high-touch hot-spots daily. These zones include desks, chairs, tables, countertops, knobs, light-switches, classroom electronics, toilets, and drinking fountains.

Coincidentally, the COVID-19 pandemic hit as the ACI was planning to revamp its Healthy Schools, Healthy People initiative, Sansoni said. This year, the institute was preparing to focus more on hand hygiene and cleaning as a way of reducing absenteeism caused by seasonal illnesses.

“Once we get past this, hopefully, we don’t take our foot off the pedal when it comes to common-sense hygiene,” Sansoni said. “The cold and flu happen every year, and there are countless school days lost due to infection among students and staff.”

Pre-pandemic, the ACI spoke with school nurses across the nation and learned that nurses, at the front lines of school health, face an uphill battle with hygiene education.

Some nurses were frustrated at the lack of soap and cleaning materials, Sansoni said. In other areas, nurses needed their school districts and systems to encourage everyone to exemplify good behaviors.

“They have a tough job,” Sansoni said. “They try to emphasize this year round.”

Photo via the CDC

Recent Stories

The Fairfax County Government Center (staff photo by Jay Westcott) When March arrives, the COVID-19 pandemic will no longer be an officially declared emergency in Fairfax County. After honoring individuals…

Loyal Companion is closing all of its Fairfax County stores, including one at the Mosaic District (staff photo by Angela Woolsey) Loyal Companion is letting out one final howl before…

The baseball diamond at Linway Terrace Park (via Fairfax County Park Authority) The McLean Citizens Association (MCA) wants Fairfax County to reconsider its embrace of synthetic turf for athletic fields,…

Morning Notes

Walking on Strawberry Lane in the Mosaic District (staff photo by Angela Woolsey) Local Task Force Deployed to Turkey — “Members of Virginia Task Force 1 in Fairfax County are…

Chris Green is one of the DMV’s finest fitness instructors. A Lululemon and South Block ambassador, he is a coach and mentor to so many. He embodies grace, positivity and motivation in ways that no one else can. If we could all learn a thing or two from him, the world would be a much better place. He does so much for others, and does so with a smile on his face 99% of the time.

He recently ruptured his Achilles and has an incredibly long and tough journey ahead. As if COVID hadn’t impacted fitness professionals enough, throw this in the mix and it’s a double, even triple whammy. CG is no longer able to work and do what he loves for the time being because of this and we’d love your support.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

The Rhea Baker State Farm Agency is proud to support Shelter House in providing safe places to be during quarantine. Shelter House’s mission is to prevent and end homelessness and domestic violence. Right now they are providing over 200 hotel rooms to those in need in our community. In the past year, across all programs, Shelter House served nearly 500 households comprised of over 1,500 individuals, 60% of which were children.

Of the households that exited shelter, over 70% moved to permanent housing. The Baker Agency has served Vienna and Tysons residents and business owners since 2007 and proudly offers insurance solutions for you home, condo, auto insurance, life insurance and more. We offer complimentary reviews and coach teen drivers to safer, better drivers, and to help keep your auto insurance rates down! We are always happy to talk or text at 703-847-6880.

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list