This is the third part of a three-part article about improving hand washing in schools.

Building a hand hygiene program from scratch can be difficult for custodial executives. Thankfully, there are programs available to help and success stories managers can benchmark from. Here are just a few innovative in-school hygiene education programs from top classrooms honored by the Healthy Schools, Healthy People program:

•    Dorsett Shoals Elementary School (Douglasville, Georgia) held a program called “2 Thumbs Up For Healthy Hands” aimed at reducing absences during cold and flu season. Hand washing posters were made and displayed by students from the school’s Art Club. Fifth-graders helped promote the program by reading to kindergarteners and first-graders about washing with soap and water. And local high school students helped run learning stations that taught different lessons on the importance of hand washing. One such lesson included a “glow in the dark” station that enabled students to see how many germs were left on their hands after washing with soap and water.


•    Three students from Minnesota-based Litchfield High School created a multi-media hygiene education campaign — including a video, “Hand washing Horrors: Revenge of the Germ.” They also collaborated with local health officials to bring educational information on germs to their school. The students created hand hygiene education projects for third- and fifth-graders, including surveys, science experiments and showing germ transfer with a black light. Lastly, they used social media to send weekly messages about hand washing statistics and procedures.


•    Six students from Susanville, California decided to act up in school — as part of a local campaign to teach hand washing to their fellow classmates and the community at-large. The students from Diamond View Middle School’s drama club created a comedic skit called “Jeremy Germ and the Germinators.” This effort was part of an after-school project with the local Public Health Department to spread the message of the importance of proper hand washing throughout the school and the community.

The skit involved two Germinator “super heroes” saving students — who hadn’t washed their hands — from “Jeremy the Germ.” The students also created bulletin boards, posters, brochures and flyers with key hand washing messages. A public service announcement was also created and played by a local radio station.

NANCY BOCK is the Senior Vice President of Education at American Cleaning Institute in Washington, D.C.

previous page of this article:
Steps To Boost Hand Hygiene