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Keeping kids clean and healthy at school can be a challenge.
Not only do you need to consider how and when to clean an educational environment, but also make sure that cleaning supplies are safely marked and stored.
That’s why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the CDC Foundation created the Clean Hands and Spaces online bilingual training (in English and in Spanish) for teachers, administrators, and staff in schools and Head Start centers.
Learn how to create a hygiene plan to help children in an educational environment.
What Is the Clean Hands and Spaces Training?
Clean Hands and Spaces is an online bilingual training that aims to help K-12 school and early childhood education (ECE) staff learn how to best encourage good hygiene practices in their educational settings.
The training consists of four modules on:
- How and when to clean hands
- How to create a hygiene plan in an educational environment
- How to select, use, and safely store cleaners and disinfectants
- How to team up with parents and caregivers to build good habits with children
You’ll learn from experts in the field about how to protect your educational community by promoting good hygiene practices. You can complete the training anytime at your own pace, and continuing education credits are available in English.
This training will help you and your school community or Head Start center get the knowledge and skills needed to encourage good hygiene practices and stop illness from spreading.
What Does the “Creating a Hygiene Plan for an Educational Environment” Module Cover?
It’s up to administrators and teachers to help keep schools and other childcare centers safe and clean.
This module covers four topics:
- Establishing a cleaning plan
- Selecting, preparing, storing cleaners correctly
- Effective cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting
- Using specific cleaning practices in early care and education
It’s important to start with creating a cleaning plan.
“A cleaning plan provides the basis for cleaning and maintenance tasks. It describes how often and how long to perform these tasks. The plan includes cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting activities. It has special instructions on how to clean particular items,” according to the module.
A cleaning plan should include which surfaces and objects to routinely clean, sanitize, or disinfect, how often to clean each surface, which cleaning products to use for specific surfaces, proper storage of cleaning products, and more.
When it comes to selecting, preparing, and storing cleaners correctly, it’s important to know the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting.
“Cleaning removes visible dirt and grime. Sanitizing reduces germs to a safe level. Disinfecting destroys or inactivates most germs on inanimate objects,” according to the module.
Keeping safety in mind will help when determining how to store and prepare cleaners.
“Cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing are important to keeping staff and children healthy. But there is risk of injury if products are not used correctly. To prevent accidental injury, follow proper steps to prepare, use, and store chemicals. This protects you and others,” according to the module.
The module explores how to effectively clean by helping educators and staff learn how to distinguish types of surfaces.
“The surface type determines how you clean it. Determine if the surface is porous or nonporous. Porous surfaces contain pores that allow the passing of air or liquids. Nonporous surfaces are smooth and cannot be penetrated by air or liquids,” according to the module.
How Does Good Hand Hygiene Help Hispanics/Latinos?
Hispanic/Latino students account for 27% of students enrolled in public schools.
Hand hygiene is especially important among this population, which faces a heavy burden of illness and health disparities due to systemic and structural inequities in the areas of income, lack of access to healthcare, healthcare system equity (which includes infection control), healthy food, quality housing and green spaces.
Frequently missing school can have a long-term impact on academic success.
“Every child should be able to learn the importance of hygiene and use best practices to keep themselves, caregivers, and parents safe,” said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio.