It’s no secret that children are walking balls of germs. Their natural curiosity and lack of personal boundaries put them in contact with germs more often than adults. With 15-20 students in a classroom, the idea of "germ control" is almost inconceivable, but there are some things you can do to keep your students healthy throughout the year. Here are some quick tips explaining how to minimize germ transmission in classrooms.
Teach Children to Wash Their Hands Frequently
You can control the inquisitiveness of children, but you can have a say in what happens with their hands afterwards. Teach your students to wash their hands regularly, not just after using the bathroom. Reserve some time before lunch for all of your children to wash their hands, and do the same when they come in after recess. You may even have this as part of their entering and leaving routines during the school day. Once they get used to doing this regularly, they will repeat their good habits outside of your classroom.
Pro Tip: If you do not have time for children to wash their hands at a sink every time, use hand sanitizer instead. You could squirt it into the children’s hands while they are in line and get through the whole class in a matter of a couple minutes.
Keep Hand Sanitizer Readily Available
Hand sanitizer is a teacher’s best friend when it comes to germ control. Keep multiple bottles in your classroom that your students have easy access to. You may even have a dispenser on the walls near your entry or outside doors so students learn to use sanitizer every time they come into the classroom. This will greatly reduce the number of germs your students get exposed to.
Pro Tip: Ask parents to purchase a large bottle of hand sanitizer as part of the required school supplies to save money, especially if you have a limited budget for classroom equipment.
Show Kids the Right Way to Sneeze and Cough
Some of the most common methods of germ transmission are uncontrolled sneezing and coughing. Teach your students the right way to sneeze and cough so they don’t spread germs in the air. Students should sneeze into a tissue when possible, and into the inside of their elbow if not. They should learn how to blow their nose rather than wiping their snot on their hands or clothing. They should also learn to cough into their arms or hands. Doing all of this will help kids keep germs to themselves.
Pro Tip: Spray your class with Lysol or other sanitizing spray when the children are at lunch, recess, or an outside class (music, PE, etc.). Wipe the desks or other commonly-touched surfaces with disinfecting wipes to keep germ levels low.