Archive for Friday, February 1, 2008

Schools hope to have bigger hand in hygiene

Hundreds of hand-gel dispensers to help fight spread of germs

February 1, 2008


Hand sanitizer dispensers now in Lawrence classrooms

Lawrence students now have a quick in-class solution every time their hands get grimy. The district is phasing in more than 600 hand sanitizer dispensers this year. Enlarge video

Kennedy School student Truman LeFlore, 10, cleans his hands Wednesday before lunch, using a hand sanitizer from a wall dispenser. Lawrence schools have installed the dispensers as a way to combat the spread of germs and promote personal hygiene.

Kennedy School student Truman LeFlore, 10, cleans his hands Wednesday before lunch, using a hand sanitizer from a wall dispenser. Lawrence schools have installed the dispensers as a way to combat the spread of germs and promote personal hygiene.

When their hands feel icky, Lawrence students don't have to make a trip to a sink any more - at least not every time.

Most schools have installed dispensers of alcohol-based hand gel in an effort to curb the spread of germs.

"I don't think anyone has said that this replaces soap and water," said Dan Karasek, a Prairie Park School fifth-grade teacher. "It's hopefully just making keeping your hands clean a little more convenient."

By the end of the year, classrooms at all schools will be equipped with either electronic no-touch dispensers or pump bottles. A district council on wellness adopted the recommendation.

"Everything that goes along with winter, by using more hand washing and having the gel accessible, it will cut down on all those germs," said Sonja Gaumer, the district's health services coordinator.

Having dispensers in hallways and outside cafeterias also allows schools to remind students about the importance of good hygiene, she said.

David Williams, Prairie Park's principal, said each school was allowed to set up the dispensers differently. He has requested pump bottles for classrooms instead of the electronic dispensers to help teachers dispense the gel quickly without disrupting class.

Michele Haider-Markel, another Prairie Park fifth-grade teacher, said that for about five years she has used the sanitizer gel in her room. Before, either she or parents supplied it.

"Since I've been using it in class, I feel it's cut down a bit on the number of colds that are coming through my room," Haider-Markel said.

The school district received the 650 dispensers for free. It is using $14,000 from its $200,000 custodial supplies budget to pay for the Purell gel, said Tom Bracciano, division director for operations and facility planning.

Bracciano estimates the district will budget $20,000 a year to refill dispensers.


Robert Rauktis 10 years ago

Don't these kids have parents anymore? Or is everything the "village's" responsibility?

Ragingbear 10 years ago

Just don't sniff the stuff. That can get you arrested and labeled a drug dealer.

mom_of_three 10 years ago

what are you talking about bayhawk? About the district paying for the purell, which the teachers use as well? you want the parents to pay for it? What's next - you want them to pay for the toilet paper next?

salad 10 years ago

Let me get this straight: the district thinks it's better to spend $20,000+/yr for hand cleaner rather than just have the kid go wash their hands in the bathroom for free?!?! This is YOUR tax dollars used at the discretion of a CYA administrator.

meburr 10 years ago

Did you see the "electronic" part? My kids think this is fun because it automatically squirts out the hand gel. You know darn well that kids won't get just one squirt. It's going to become a toy. The regular hand pumps should have been just fine-and maybe half the cost??

jayhawks71 10 years ago

Shouldnt the parents pay for it? In response to the above query. Of course they should.

mom_of_three 10 years ago

The hand cleaner is in the rooms, the kids don't have to run to the bathroom, use water, clown around which means less classroom disruptions.

And yes, some kids use toilet paper, some kids play with toilet paper. Isn't that why it's usually on the floor on the bathroom??

mom_of_three 10 years ago

Parents are already paying for the hand gel - in sky high fees for the district

hockmano 10 years ago

mom_of_three (Anonymous) says:

Parents are already paying for the hand gel - in sky high fees for the district

Exactly!What happened to the good ole days when everyone received a great education without all the added extras?How can you call it Public School when you have to pay so many fees?

jayhawks71 10 years ago

Mo3, so no tax dollars are paying for any of the things in school that ONLY benefit the children and families of children in the schools? I am all for everyone (with or without kids) paying a bit for education, it benefits everyone, as for an ALTERNATIVE method for clean does that benefit Joe Taxpayer with no kids? I wonder if those fees you refer to are REALLY paying for hand gel. And to think of all of these kids that will grow up with compromised immune systems because of the over reliance on antimicrobial soaps/gels.

mom_of_three 10 years ago

hockmano - My kids were in school when the school fees suddenly took a large jump several years ago. So I remember the time when the fees were much, MUCH lower.
But I also know that private school costs more. One school I know of costs 8 times as much, and I am sure there are lower and higher costing schools.
Do I think our public education school fees are high? Yes, with three kids in junior high and high school, charging for every little fee, yes, yes, yes.
I also know it could be higher.

Tammy Copp-Barta 10 years ago

I already arm my kids with small bottles of hand sanitizer they keep in their backpacks or coat pockets. My daughter said that the kids keep playing with the machines (she's in 6th grade). My son - in high school - says they don't have them in all the classrooms, but he did see them. He has his own so doesn't use it.

fairylight 10 years ago

I read recently that overuse of these hand gels- as well as over use of antibiotics led to MRSA being so prevalent .

It makes sense, use it enough and the germs evolve into stronger germs.

Hilary Morton 10 years ago

fairy, the gel is not antibiotic, though. It's Purell.

And the district didn't pay for the dispensers, they just fill them.

It's great. Yeah, it's pretty pricey, but it certainly is convenient.

hawklet21 10 years ago

I might be ignorant on the subject, in fact, I probably am. However, doesn't all this anti-germ paranoia just lead to people being even more susceptible to germs? I have never tried to avoid germs, yet am I rarely sick with the common illnesses that everyone else has. Am I ahead of the pack, or a freak of nature? :) I've always thought that if you were exposed to SOME germs, then your body would learn how to fight them off.

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