DOUGLASVILLE, GA — Students at Douglasville’s Dorsett Shoals Elementary School gave “2 Thumbs Up for Healthy Hands.” That led to national recognition for their handwashing awareness efforts by the “Healthy Schools, Healthy People, It’s a SNAP” program, a joint initiative of the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Representatives from ACI and CDC will recognize the students during their award ceremony on May 23. The school will receive a check for $5,000 and handwashing products to support good hand hygiene. The cash award and hand hygiene products were donated by: Arylessence, Inc., Colgate-Palmolive Company, Ecolab Inc., GOJO Industries, Inc., Henkel Consumer Goods Inc. and Water Journey Ltd.
The hand hygiene education efforts that earned the national award cut across a variety of classroom activities throughout the school.
Handwashing posters were made by the school’s Art Club. Fifth-graders read to kindergarteners and first-graders about washing with soap and water. The school’s physical education teacher, Nick Epstein, led a school-wide assembly about hand hygiene – all part of the “2 Thumbs Up for Healthy Hands” program.
Mr. Epstein said most people think of washing their hands as something basic, especially before meals. But he said what teachers are noticing is that many kids don’t take the time to perform that simple, preventative measure.
Shannon Hendrix, a registered nurse who serves as the health services coordinator for Dorsett Shoals and other local schools, said all 423 students at Dorsett Shoals were involved in the program that was aimed at making hand washing fun and educational.
Students from nearby Alexander High School came by to help run four learning stations that taught different lessons on the importance of handwashing, including a “glow in the dark” station that enabled students to see how many germs were left on their hands after washing with soap and water.
“This is one of the best examples of a multi-discipline effort that we’ve ever seen in the Healthy Schools awards program,” said Nancy Bock, Senior Vice President of Education at the American Cleaning Institute. “From physical education to art to science, we saw hundreds of students learn first-hand about the importance of daily handwashing with soap and water.”
“Our students understand the importance of being at school each and every day. This handwashing initiative was a great add-on to what we do for our attendance program,” said Dr. Kacia Thompson, Principal, Dorsett Shoals Elementary School.
“CDC gives Dorsett Shoals Elementary two thumbs up for their school-wide campaign to keep hands clean and kids healthy,” said Dr. Anna Bowen, a medical epidemiologist at CDC. “We know that when kids learn handwashing in school, they also bring that knowledge home to their parents and siblings, so it helps the whole community.”
The Healthy Schools, Healthy People, It’s a SNAP Program – SNAP stands for School Network for Absenteeism Prevention – was established in 2003 to help improve hand hygiene habits to help prevent the spread of infectious disease and reduce school absenteeism.
Educators who are interested in participating in the program can visit the Healthy Schools, Healthy People website for more information, www.itsasnap.org. Additional free handwashing resources can be downloaded from ACI’s website at www.cleaninginstitute.org/cleanhands/ and CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/handwashing/.
The American Cleaning Institute® (ACI) is the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry® and represents the $30 billion U.S. cleaning products market. ACI members include the formulators of soaps, detergents, and general cleaning products used in household, commercial, industrial and institutional settings; companies that supply ingredients and finished packaging for these products; and oleochemical producers. ACI (www.cleaninginstitute.org) and its members are dedicated to improving health and the quality of life through sustainable cleaning products and practices.