Checkup: Germs in the School Room
If you have kids, or had kids, or have been a kid -- Iím just trying to include everyone here -- then you know that schools are hot spots for disease. Flu bugs, stomach viruses, all sorts of nasty things tend to sweep through schools like, well, like something really fast.
But why is that? Itís not like kids are literally coughing on each other or sneezing in each otherís faces. At least I hope not. So whatís going on?
"Schools in general are hotspots because primarily in general our kids donít really practice good hygiene."
Thatís Peter Sheldon -- heís with a company called Coverall Health Based Cleaning Systems. Now, Sheldon said that the problem in schools isnít just that kids donít wash their hands as much as they should -- although that is a problem. Itís that schools donít clean as well as they should, resulting in what Sheldon calls ďkey transmission pointsĒ for spreading disease.
"Desktops would be one of them, and thatís primarily when you have school environments when different kids are coming in and using the same desk and those desktops arenít getting cleaned very well."
School cafeterias are also evidently crawling with germs. And, of course, school bathrooms have a lot to answer for.
"Obviously the bathroom is what we call the center of cross contamination, especially in a school system because kids arenít practicing good hand hygiene and theyíre bringing things out of the bathroom into other areas of the school."
Other problem areas include pencil sharpeners, door knobs -- basically, anything that lots of people touch. But schools donít have to be zones of rampant contagion, Sheldon says. They can solve the problem simply by being better at cleaning.
"The training and education of the custodial staff really has to come from the very top level. And that pressure can be put on the school from the parents to create a healthier environment."
Iím Jeremy Shere.