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Students First: Why K-12 Schools Need Hand Washing Stations

Written By: Olivia Bordonaro, Youngstown State University and Personal Protected Intern


Sure, kids are cute and all, but guess how many germs and bacteria are spread by children at schools that make their way to staff members and into households? Places that you would think are the cleanest to touch might be just the opposite. Kids get sick often from school, especially during flu season. Parents can take precautions to prevent illness at home, but it’s out of their hands at a child’s place of education. The Personal Protected Quad-Sink would benefit student health throughout cafeterias, where students could wash their hands before and after eating; lobby entrance ways, while entering and exiting the school; classrooms, playgrounds, and gymnasiums as a solution to some of the largest issues surrounding student health. Learn where germs are most prominent in schools, how that affects students and faculty, and how these issues can be avoided in this writing.


Let’s start off with something we are all familiar with; clean hands save lives! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one of the best ways to prevent the spread of bacteria to others, avoid illness, and remove germs is to regularly wash your hands (Handwashing - Clean Hands Save Lives). Unfortunately, with the limited amount of restrooms, time, and teachers in a school day, schools don’t have the capability to send every child to the restroom before and after different school functions to wash their hands. Personal Protected Quad-Sinks are an attractive solution because they come equipped with 4 unique bays that can provide 120 hand washes every 10 minutes and 720 hand washes every hour. The Quad-Sink can go a full school day before needing refills, is quick and convenient, mobile, and will keep restrooms uncongested. Children stay healthy, schools keep attendance up, and staff members feel confident; talk about a win-win situation.


Now, let’s dive into some interesting facts on how much bacteria there is in different school settings. A study conducted in 2010 by Dr. Charles Gerba, professor and environmental microbiologist, and researchers at the University of Arizona swabbed common area surfaces and classrooms in six different K-12 schools (New Study Reveals Germiest Hot Spots at School). Dr. Gerba states that most infectious diseases are transmitted through touching contaminated surfaces or touching an infected person (The 10 Germiest Back-to-School Places). Some of the most contaminated school surfaces Dr. Gerba and researchers found in their study are the computer mouse and keyboard found in computer labs, the restroom paper towel handle, restroom sink faucets, and the cafeteria tables (New Study Reveals Germiest Hot Spots at School). Michael G. Schmidt, Ph.D. of the Medical University of South Carolina, stated that “you are more likely to encounter germs on a computer keyboard than on a toilet seat.” Also, cafeteria tables and plastic food trays are one of the most prominent places that pathogens are attracted to in schools. Dr. Schmidt states “They are the gathering place for many students who can contaminate the area through touching, sneezing and coughing. Plus, food residue left there is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria,” (The 10 Germiest Back-to-School Places).


All of these contaminated surfaces have one thing in common; they can be protected against germs through frequent hand washing. Not only do we have to worry about the flu or cold season, we also have the COVID-19 pandemic to be concerned about within our schools. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, children are the most significant spreaders of influenza and are more likely to become infected (US National Library of Medicine). They state, “Influenza viruses are found in the nose and throat. Because children touch their noses, eyes and mouths often, put things in their mouths, and touch each other often during play, flu germs spread easily,” (US National Library of Medicine). Each year, outbreaks of influenza affect almost every school in the country. Flu outbreaks combined with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic concern, it is extremely important to focus on frequent hand washing in schools. The CDC reports that hand washing and keeping our hands clean can:

  • Prevent 1 in 5 respiratory infections such as the flu and/or pneumonia

  • Decrease respiratory infections in the general population by 16%-21%

  • Increase the school attendance rate in children by 29%-57% by kids who were absent due to gastrointestinal illness (Global Handwashing Day)

The Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) discusses a study that was done to show the attendance rates in schools. It reported a school nurse who met with 16 students per day and sent home 5 students per day on average during January and February. Low attendance rates do not just affect student learning, but also the financial position of the school. The CHOC states: “With absenteeism, the Average Daily Attendance rate (money schools receive from the government) for students during the flu season can decrease by as much as 2 percent, costing the school much-needed dollars,” (Protect Against the Flu).


With the Quad-Sinks, there is a unique approach to encourage hand washing without compromising social distancing requirements. They come equipped with touchless soap, water, and towel dispensers which can help prevent the spread of germs from some of the most contaminated surfaces that children can't avoid in school. By understanding where germs reside, why students get sick, and how to combat those issues, we can increase the overall health and wellness in children by a simple solution; encouraged and correct hand washing. Lucky for you, this can be accomplished through the Quad-Sink, by Personal Protected.


Visit www.PersonalProtected.com/students-first to learn how to better protect our students and promote healthy futures, healthy communities, and A Healthy Humanity.




Sources


“Global Handwashing Day.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 Oct. 2020, www.cdc.gov/handwashing/global-handwashing-day.html


“Protect Against the Flu to Keep Children's Learning on Track.” CHOC Health, 5 May 2021, health.choc.org/protect-flu-keep-childrens-learning-track/


“The 10 Germiest Back-to-School Places.” Winchesterva.gov, www.winchesterva.gov/sites/default/files/documents/safety/10-Germiest-Back-To-School-Places.pdf


“Handwashing - Clean Hands Save Lives.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 May 2021, www.cdc.gov/handwashing/index.html


“New Study Reveals Germiest Hot Spots at School.” The Clorox Company, 9 Nov. 2017, www.thecloroxcompany.com/release/new-study-reveals-germiest-hot-spots-at-school/0ef495c1-c285-4f93-ba8b-2944f6fc3892/


US National Library of Medicine. “Influenza in Children.” Paediatrics & Child Health, Pulsus Group Inc, Oct. 2005, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2722601/