Back to school and back to old handwashing habits

Back to school and back to old habits

Back to school and back to old handwashing habits

School handwashing habits under scrutiny

A recent report in the European Cleaning Journal highlighted a survey by The Global Hygiene Council (GHC) which found that a whopping 42 per cent of children are not following proper hand hygiene procedures in school by using soap when they wash their hands.  The research which was conducted Europe wide obviously did not include the UK as all our schools were closed but the research assessed primary school children’s hygiene awareness and habits across seven countries during COVID-19 and in all countries, usage of soap was higher at home than in school settings.

Worry as schools return

This is a worry as Scottish schools are set to return from 10 August.  Hygiene experts are now stressing the importance of effective hand hygiene measures and education in schools as children start returning after lockdown and summer breaks.

In the survey of primary schools it showed less than half of children (44 per cent) said someone ensures they always wash their hands prior to eating, with the vast majority (71 per cent) stating this happens at home.

The experts also emphasised the importance of supplying schools with hand soap, as on average just 60 per cent of children said soap was always available in school, with one in 10 stating soap was never available.

No Hot Water

When the news broke that Covid-19 was in the UK and infected numbers were rising, Teacher Tapp, the daily survey app asked over 6,000 teachers about precautions in their school. An alarming 37% said they did not have hot water and soap available for pupils. Soap is not a legal requirement in washrooms and given that schools are struggling for cash, it’s an easy thing to cut. Hot water access is legally required, but speaking to teachers, it is clear that old plumbing systems are not providing hot water – or at least not fast enough to get to the tap before the child has disappeared. (Source: The Guardian)

Regulations currently state that schools need to have just one sink per 30 pupils. Most schools will block off every other sink for social distancing.  And the 20 minute break time at most schools when pupils also have to use the toilet, have a snack and hopefully some playtime. Something has to give and hand washing is an easy one unless properly supervised with soap and hot water readily available.

Other info that came from the Teacher Tapp survey was that only one in five teachers said tissues were available for children. Let’s hope that schools have improved since March…..  Here’s some handy tips to implement in your schools