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High Schoolers Honored for Highlighting Hygiene
Litchfield, Minnesota high school students who used holiday-themed messages to hammer home the importance of hand hygiene are the recipients of the 2017 “Healthy Schools, Healthy People: It’s a SNAP” National Award.
The Healthy Schools, Healthy People, It’s a SNAP! (School Network for Absenteeism Prevention) program is a joint initiative of the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) to promote handwashing among students.
Three classmates from the Litchfield High School FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) Chapter developed a “Healthy Holidays” campaign to educate students from around the school system on the proper way to clean their hands with soap and water.
Their “Soap, Scrub, Sing, Rinse, and Dry” regimen helped students remember proper hand hygiene habits are crucial to staying healthy.
“Especially now during cold and flu season, washing our hands is important to keep our community healthy. It is especially important in our school district to keep our students healthy. By participating in this project, we learned how to communicate important messages to people of all ages,” said Litchfield High School seniors Carli Christensen, Hannah Schacherer and Meghan Stordahl.
The high schoolers’ project included using a “Germ City” backdrop – complete with a blacklight – to help illuminate germs that remained on their fellow students after not properly cleaning their hands.
The project also featured experiments, posters, videos and social media outreach with holiday-themed messages – specifically connected to Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine’s Day – to emphasize the importance of handwashing with soap and water. The students reached over 10,000 people through their social media messages.
“The Healthy Schools, Healthy People award recognizes thoughtful and creative in-school programs that promote good hand hygiene,” said Nancy Bock, ACI Senior Vice President, Education. “The Litchfield High School students demonstrated that educating the community at-large can be really have an impact and create meaningful lessons that can last a lifetime.”
“Proper handwashing is one of the single most important steps one can take to prevent getting sick from germs,” said Vincent Hill, chief of CDC’s Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch. “The ‘Healthy Holidays’ team did a great job creating engaging and creative health promotion materials for their community that follow CDC’s handwashing recommendations.”
Carli, Hannah, and Meghan will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. to receive the Healthy Schools, Healthy People National Award.
Virginia, Oklahoma Classroom Receive Runners-up Honors
The Brickell Academy at Old Donation School from Virginia Beach, Virginia earned a runner-up award with their “Expert Germ Stopper Ambassadors” program. A local doctor teamed up with her daughter’s third-grade class to train the ambassadors and implement the program to the four other third-grade classes, totaling one hundred students.
Students from the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) chapter at Medford, Oklahoma High School also earned a runner-up award. “ABC, I'm Germ Free” included story time, handwashing demonstrations and practice for a local Head Start and activities for junior high and high school students.
For 15 years, the Healthy Schools, Healthy People program has sought to improve hand hygiene habits to help prevent the spread of infectious disease and reduce related absenteeism. This grassroots, education-based effort can help improve health by making hand cleaning an integral part of the school day.
For information on how your school can participate in the program, visit www.itsasnap.org.
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