A lot of children are now back at school for the first time in months, and it’s a worrying time for parents. Not only are there the usual worries about homework and whether your child will make friends, there’s also the additional worry about the spread of germs and bacteria.
Your child’s school should be happy to speak with you about the measures that they are taking to keep your child safe. It’s also completely reasonable to ask about the measures that you would hope to see them put in place.
When they are in the classroom, children should be seated two meters from one another to minimize the risk of spreading disease through airborne germs.
Distancing is important not just during class time, but during lunch and break times too. If the school isn’t big enough to facilitate distancing then institutions should be implementing staggered lunch and break times to allow a smaller number of children to be on their break at the same time.
A way that germs can be spread is through touching the same object. Particularly with younger children, it’s not always going to be possible for them not to be touching the same things – for example, toys and games will still need to be shared by the class, as will sports equipment.
To account for this it’s important that the school have a policy on how often the shared equipment will be disinfected and how this process will be managed.
Frequent hand washing is the most effective weapon against the spread of germs. Not only does it stop your child from passing any germs that they may have onto others, it means that if they inadvertently pick up germs from a surface they are less likely to infect themselves by rubbing their eyes, nose or mouth.
At a minimum hand washing should take place:
- Before eating
- After going to the bathroom
- When coming inside from playing outdoors
- After sneezing or coughing
Schools should also be encouraging children to routinely wash their hands outside of these times to minimize the risk of infection.
It’s important that hand sanitizer is made readily available to children in schools to use at times when they are unable to wash their hands.
For example, you might place hand sanitizer in a prominent place in the classroom so that children may clean their hands after handling shared items, without having to disrupt the lesson by leaving to go to the bathroom.
If possible, it’s better to use a dispenser from Touch Free Hand Sanitiser as this further minimizes the spread of germs because there is no risk of transmission through a pump or lever.
The rooms in the school should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected at the end of each day, paying particular attention to bathrooms and the children’s desks.
Cleaning and disinfection are slightly different terms. According to this cleaning guide resource page, cleaning, often using a mixture of soap and water, merely removes the dirt, germs, and any other impurities on surfaces or objects. If you want to thoroughly get rid of harmful pathogens and viruses that cause disease, you need to disinfect with a disinfecting agent, often in the form of sprays or wipes.
Food preparation areas should also be cleaned thoroughly after use with hot soapy water.
Some germs can actually thrive until they are wiped away, so as well as cleaning surfaces they should be dried thoroughly with paper towels.