Keeping our schools clean has never been more important as COVID-19 and other illnesses like the flu are plaguing our communities. Luckily, we are approaching warmer months with summer on the horizon, which tends to see a drop in flu cases. For children in schools however, they’re more at risk of catching a bug or COVID itself due to the number of pupils in such a small space.
The confided areas see germs spread more rapidly and as children are less likely to be concerned with the spreading of germs, they can easily and unwearyingly pass it onto each other without knowing. According to WebMD, children come into contact with around 152,300 germs while at school and believe it or not but cafeteria trays can be one the most contaminated items!
Many schools will have a school cleaning contract with a commercial cleaning company to ensure everything is deep cleaned and sanitised daily. Although this can help to prevent the spread of germs and is a vital service in our current times, there is still no way it can tackle the spread of viruses completely. Children can experience up to 12 colds a year, while the average adult has 2-4 colds in the same time period. Unfortunately, we’re unable to see the virus and we’re also unaware if a child might be carrying it as they don’t always have noticeable symptoms. With this in mind, it’s important we teach children good hygiene practices to help maintain a clean and healthy school.
Here’s a list of tips to teach your child good hygiene which can contribute to keeping our schools clean and the virus to a minimum.
- Wash Hands Regularly
I know most schools are and will be promoting this regularly throughout the premises with posters in toilets, demonstrations and verbally. However, it is impossible for teachers to regulate this and ensure that every pupil is doing it. So, if we as parents can help our children to understand the importance of washing our hands and try to get them to implement this at home and at school, we can support our schools and teachers in keeping the school as hygienic as possible.
Ask your child to practice washing their hands before every meal at home, whenever they’ve been playing outside or inside, after going to the toilet and after any physical contact with another person. It’s advised they wash their hands for at least 30 secs with warm water and soap.
If they practice hand washing at home, hopefully it will become part of their routine at school too and they will set a good example for their fellow class mates.
- Teach them to cover their mouths when coughing and sneezing
As one cough or sneeze can send 100,000 contagious germs into the air at speeds of 100mph, it’s immensely important we teach them to cover their mouths when sneezing and coughing. Most schools have enforced rules that pupils and teachers must wear masks throughout the day but when they come to eat their lunch, they have to take them off. Sadly, some sneezes and coughs won’t be contained within the masks and germs will be passed onto people. We should tell our children to catch their sneezes and coughs in their hands or a tissue if possible and then go and wash their hands immediately after. A good idea to help them is to provide your child with a small packet of tissues they can keep inside their school bags to use when needed.
- Get them into a daily bathing or shower routine
Ask your child to take daily or regular baths or showers will help to keep them clean and hygienic. Germs can cling onto clothes and can last for up to 72 hours. They can also stick to your hair and face too. You can equip your child with a face wash cloth and shower creams or soaps, make sure you’re aware of any allergies or skin sensitivity they might have to certain soaps! I would ask them to shower or bath before bed time and to wash their face and hands as soon as they can come home from school.
- You can also help by washing their uniforms and santising their school equipment
Washing their uniforms and PE equipment will help to kill any germs living on the clothing. You can also sanitise their school lunch boxes with bacterial wipes and give their school bags a good wipe down too. Any school equipment they have like pencil cases, pens, water bottles etc, should be santised regularly. Children tend to borrow pens in class and swop things so there may be more than one person’s germs and bacteria on them.
We hope some of these ideas and tips will help you and your children to stay as healthy and hygienic as possible. Schools will be doing all they can to keep your children as safe as possible from COVID-19 and other viruses, usually with a school cleaning company that can operate deep cleans and virus cleans. They will use only the highest standard of industrial equipment that will kill germs and bacteria and santise all touch points and areas of the school and its facilities.