As a child, your parents always reinforced the importance of handwashing. Wash your hands when you get off the school bus, wash your hands before dinner, and wash your hands after using the restroom.
Your parents had a point. Check out these statistics:
- Nearly 22 million K-12 school days are lost each year due to the common cold.
- 52.2 million cases of the common cold affect children under 17 years of age.
- Children have about 6-10 colds each year.
- Some viruses and bacteria can live from 20 minutes to 2 hours or more on surfaces.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that addressing the spread of germs in K-12 schools is essential to the health of students.
Many studies document the positive impact handwashing has on reducing student absenteeism in K-12 schools:
Study 1: A study of 305 Detroit children found that students who washed their hands four times a day had 51% fewer sick days due to an stomach upset.
Study 2: A study of 290 students in 5 schools across the country revealed handwashing education and the use of hand sanitizer reduced student absenteeism by 51%.
So what are you doing in your school to promote student handwashing? Here are a few suggestions:
Handwashing Programs and Resources1. The Scrub Club
2. Healthy Hands, Healthy Kids3. Teaching Hand Hygiene
For more information on other ways to reduce chronic absenteeism at your school, download our best practice guide!