Classrooms are at the heart of learning and socializing. Unfortunately, these bustling, interactive spaces are also the perfect breeding ground for school germs that want to join in on the fun.
With the new school year back in full swing, it seems like a fitting time to remind parents and teachers where to look for germs and how to expel them from your school.
Sounds like it’s time for a little game we like to call “Hide and Seek.”
Desks and Shared Tables
Classroom desks and shared tables are like bus stops for school germs. When students sneeze, cough, or wipe their nose, germs may “hop” onto these shared surfaces, where they will hang out, waiting for the next students to unknowingly pick them up on their hands.
With just the simple click of a button, students now have the ability to access all sorts of information, expanding their knowledge and – you guessed it – picking up oodles of school germs. While most of these gizmo-loving germs are harmless, some can spread illnesses like colds, flu, MRSA, and norovirus.
Feeling thirsty? According to a study conducted by Charles Gerba, Ph.D., water fountain toggles are one of the germiest surfaces found in schools. In another study, more than 2,000 microorganisms were found on the surface of school water fountains. Yuck!
The Pencil Sharpener
A tool for sharpening pencils or a breeding ground for school germs? According to Charles Gerba, Ph.D., the community pencil sharpener is one of the dirtiest things in the classroom. Chances are, if you have a community pencil sharpener, it hasn’t been disinfected in a while – meaning germs are passed from one student to another … and another … and another.
Preventing the Spread of Germs at School
Arm your kids with these simple hygiene habits to help prevent the spread of germs at school:
- Teach children proper handwashing skills, like washing for as long as it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice and using soap and warm water. Encourage them to use hand sanitizer when handwashing is not an option.
- Teach children to cover their mouth and nose with a disposable tissue or shirtsleeve when coughing or sneezing.
- Keep children home from school if they’re sick.
- Encourage children to avoid touching their mouth, nose, or eyes.
- Make sure children get adequate sleep, eat healthy, and exercise. These factors help boost the immune system and fight off unwanted germs.