Top 8 Tips for Celebrating Global Handwashing Day in Your School

Global Handwashing Day is upon us! Celebrated on October 15, this global advocacy day is dedicated to educating people and increasing awareness about the importance of handwashing in preventing illness and possibly even saving lives.

Did you know that handwashing with warm running water and soap is one of the most effective and affordable ways to prevent diseases and save lives? You might take for granted that everyone knows the importance of handwashing, but this isn’t necessarily the case. It’s partially up to schools to educate young people on how, when, and why to wash their hands.

Handwashing is especially important today where we are still battling the COVID-19 pandemic. We can all take measures to educate ourselves and inform each other on the importance of handwashing to minimize germs and the spread of illness.

How Does Handwashing Help Keep Us Healthy?

Handwashing with soap and running water is among the most effective (and cost effective) ways to prevent diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia, which are some of the leading causes of death among young children. This simple habit can literally save lives, cutting diarrhea cases by almost one-half and acute respiratory infections by nearly one-quarter.

With the continuation of COVID-19, plus the chillier months bringing colds and flus, you’ll want to ensure healthy students and staff who can show up to school day after day. Nothing is worse than large absences of students and staff populations due to preventable illness. And one big key to prevention and ceasing the spread of illness is through handwashing.

Here is more than a handful of ways your school can help spread the word about Global Handwashing Day and get your students and staff on board with this important initiative.

Educate Yourself on Handwashing and Healthcare Cleaning

When it comes to cleaning standards in healthcare – and this includes stopping the spread of germs, viruses and bacteria, and COVID-19 in your school – it’s important to know the facts.

If you and your staff members aren’t already aware of how proper and thorough handwashing can help keep your student body healthy and well, it’s time to get informed! Host an all-staff meeting to educate faculty on handwashing and spread information about how to properly handwash. This way, when Global Handwashing Day rolls around, your staff members will be able to answer questions and help advocate for the cause.

Start a Global Handwashing Day Task Force

Once you meet with your entire faculty, find a few team members who might be willing to serve on a special task force dedicated to Global Handwashing Day. These staff members should be trained in proper handwashing, should know the ins and outs of healthcare cleaning standards, and should be able to answer any questions that may come their way on the day of the event.

This team may even find new and creative ways to promote the event and get students, staff, and parents more involved. The best promotion happens when people are eager and excited about the cause, so find staff members who want to get on board and spread the word about Global Handwashing Day and the importance of handwashing in a busy setting like your school.

Promote the Day on Social Media

These days, the majority of marketing happens via social media channels. Besides posting about Global Handwashing Day on any social media accounts associated with the school, see if your sports teams and other extracurricular groups would be willing to post as well.

You can come up with a catchy campaign on the importance of handwashing and how it keeps your student athletes healthy and prepared for game day!

Ensure Your Facilities are Stocked with the Right Supplies

Now is an ideal time to reassess your health and hygiene supplies. Are all of your sinks and associated plumbing functioning properly? Do any leaks or other issues need fixing? How about your soap dispensers – are they consistently filled with the appropriate disinfecting soap? Are paper towel dispensers and hand dryers stocked and in working order?

You might also consider setting up additional hand sanitizing stations throughout the school this month, especially in common places like hallways, cafeterias, locker rooms, and gymnasiums. Be sure to note that hand sanitizer is not a substitute for handwashing, and that the most thorough way to disinfect hands is with a thorough washing with soap and running water.

From high-touch surfaces to high-traffic areas in your school, you’ll want to make sure that students and staff have access to the disinfecting supplies they need to stay healthy and stop the spread of germs.

Display Signage Throughout the Month

Putting up flyers on how to properly handwash is vital, and these should be posted throughout the school. Not only can these flyers serve as reminders on bulletin boards and in classrooms, but your signage might also include instructional plaques that you might leave up all year round. Emphasize the importance of handwashing after using the bathroom; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; after contact with an animal, animal feed, or animal waste; after handling pet food or pet treats; and after touching garbage.

Instructions should include proper handwashing technique, including wetting hands, covering wet hands with soap, scrubbing all surfaces (including palms, back of the hands, between the fingers, and under the fingernails for about 20 seconds), rinsing well with running water, and drying on a clean cloth, under a hand dryer, or by waving hands in the air.

It’s also a good idea to feature infographics, not just text, in your signage. People – especially children – learn best with visual imagery. You can grab some posters and even a “Handwashing Handbook” (which you can distribute electronically or via hard copy to your student body and faculty) from the Global Handwashing Day website.

Offer Live Handwashing Demonstrations in Classrooms

Whether it be during Health/Home Economics classes, or in regular core classes, you can appoint one of your representatives from your Global Handwashing Day task force to offer “pop up” demonstrations. Find classroom settings – like a science lab – that are already equipped with sinks and soap, so you can make it easier to demonstrate. These demonstrations don’t have to take long – a quick, 10-minute demo should do the trick and ensure that all students get the chance to hear about handwashing.

Don’t Forget About Parent Outreach

What’s the best way to reinforce lessons taught in the classroom? Enrolling parents who can emphasize these concepts in the home.

Whether you’re mentioning your school’s Global Handwashing Day initiatives at an upcoming PTA meeting, sending text or email blasts to parents, or including handwashing information in your newsletter, ensure that parents also receive the information and resources they need to talk to their kids about handwashing.

Include tips on how parents can help advocate for this cause, perform handwashing-related activities, and reiterate the importance of handwashing at home.

Evaluate Your Cleaning and Janitorial Services

Are you completely satisfied with the janitorial services company you’re currently using? If you’re finding that the company you’re using may not be meeting all healthcare cleaning standards, it might be time for an upgrade.

Your janitorial staff should be consistent and thorough in their cleaning, operating under the principles of ISSA Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS). Disinfectant products used should meet or exceed industry and healthcare cleaning standards. Particularly in restroom facilities and food service areas like your cafeteria, surfaces must be consistently and thoroughly disinfected to prevent against viral, bacterial, and food-borne illnesses.

Did you know that The Budd Group offers disinfection services and janitorial services? For over 50 years, we’ve offered cleaning services and solutions to various industries and organizations, including schools, hospitals and healthcare settings, and commercial facilities across the United States. Our suite of services help to build healthier, more environmentally responsible facilities.

Contact The Budd Group for Your Comprehensive Facilities Support

Whether you’re in need of janitorial staff you can count on or disinfection services that meet healthcare cleaning standards, The Budd Group has you covered.

We offer a wide array of cleaning and janitorial services, from full service green cleaning, recycling and floor care programs to specialized industrial, cleanroom, and medical cleaning. Our disinfecting services increase health and safety through surface disinfectant supplies and services, including the use of disinfectant wipes and specialized disinfectant sprays.

After working with a representative from your school to discover which products and services you may need, we develop a custom proposal that covers the work to be completed, scheduling, staffing, equipment, key performance indicators, processes, and other elements that are essential in meeting your standards. Then we evaluate as we go, finding what’s working and what tweaks need to be made to meet and exceed those standards of excellence.

We can help you fight against various pathogens and contaminants efficiently and safely, keeping your student body and faculty prepared against illness this school year and beyond. Contact The Budd Group today to talk through your options, our pricing models, and any additional services you may need for your school this Global Handwashing Day.

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