Parents will be keen to know and trust hygiene protocols as children start to get back to school. Here are 5 tips schools can take to form the foundation of their future hand hygiene routines beyond rule number one, which remains washing hands often with soap and water. (See this short video from NHS Education for Scotland.)
Our tips for Hand Hygiene in Schools
Where hand washing with soap isn’t convenient, hand sanitising has to be accessible – and an important key is to use mobile stands which are suitable for children. See here
Next, consider whether an automatic or manual dispenser is best for you. With current demand, automatic dispensers might take some time to be delivered, and are more expensive – so what is the up side? Dosing is consistent and children love getting a ‘blob’ of sanitiser dished out automatically – so that’s half the battle.
Manual dispensers can be just as effective though. Hands are sanitised as soon as they have ‘touched’ the dispenser, so this cheaper option is usually the one used in hospitals, which gives you peace of mind. Dosing is still accurate and consistent and, at least for now, manual versions are easier to install quickly.
At high traffic points like canteens, assembly halls and playground entrances why not fix a dispenser to the wall at both sides of the corridor, at an appropriate height? (And apply a one-way system for going in and out of the access corridors).
Wherever you position dispensers, make them fun for children to use, with bright, eye-catching posters designed by them. (Sent in from home in advance!) Inspire them with words like Squirt, Squeeze, Spray, Dollop, Blob, Splotch, Splash…. all very visual.
We do recommend choosing a stand over a wall-mounted dispenser where possible because:
Stands offer flexibility and will be cheaper than dispensing units fixed permanently to walls. Before ordering, check that stands will be stable – just as important as height. Our recommended stand is 13kg and can be rocked up to 45deg without toppling over. (Another good to know fact is that 13kg is well within the legal limit for manual handling, making installation and mobility easier – and it is made in the UK).
A wall-mounted dispenser can quickly blend into the background for children, but a stand can be moved, even slightly, to keep it in the foreground.
Adults can use them easily too.
Toilets and Sinks
Social distancing will inevitably mean ‘blocking off’ some sinks, WCs and Urinals, whether it remains 2m or is reduced; but this is easy to manage with rolls of bright pre-printed polyethylene.
Have soap at every sink in use and display posters in every washroom – ideally drawn by the children themselves – showing the 5-steps for happy hand washing.
Dryers vs Paper Towels.
Dryers, such as Puff the Magic Dryer, are quiet, efficient and cost-effective. Puff has already been a massive hit with schools and nurseries, but if you are using paper towels for now, the decision is between manual dispensers – which often dispense 4-5 sheets at a time – or an automatic one, dispensing single sheets. The difference in budget does add up over a year. (If you already have a manual paper towel dispenser, order a ‘Z’ fold paper towel variety which dispenses one at a time, as this will reduce your overheads.)
Sanitise the Toilet
Children (and staff) will welcome the opportunity to sanitise the toilet seat itself, so consider installing a wall-mounted sanitiser next to the toilet roll dispenser. Encourage users to tear off a small piece of toilet roll, apply the sanitiser to it, and wipe the seat before and after use. The ‘wipe’ can then be flushed safely down the loo.
But don’t be tempted to use blue roll or paper towels instead! These will simply block the toilet and drains in next to no time.
So, that’s our 5 tips to help hand hygiene as schools get back to ‘normal. Keep safe everyone!