Winter is the season when cold is especially dangerous. Even though the vast majority of people are exposed to this infection, school children represent the group that is the most vulnerable. At school children all the time communicate with each other put together into small classrooms. One infected child is able to spread the cold to several others within just one day. This is why a teacher is to take preventive measures and stop the germs from spreading in the classroom.
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There are a number of simple and universal procedures and rules that can be introduced to school students in order to protect them from getting infected. First of all, in a limited space where groups of children are put close to one another it is important to keep the germs from getting in the air. This is why the students need to be educated about always bringing tissues to sneeze into. When the sick children are coughing they should be trained to cover their mouth, but not with their hands.
Coughing into the crook of one’s elbow is the safest way to prevent infections from spreading. Before and after a class the teacher is to open windows and create circulation of fresh air in the classroom. Keeping the windows closed all day might seem like a good idea to maintain warm environment in the classroom; yet, unventilated rooms with many infected individuals are favorable conditions for the germs.
In order to create awareness concerning the infection, the children need to be educated about the ways it spreads. Mainly, the germs are passed from a child to child through touch. When the germs settle on the student’s hands, all it takes for them to get infected is to rub their nose or mouth with this hand. This is why frequent hand washing is crucial during the flu and cold epidemics. The teacher is to schedule hand washing sessions and supervise them because hand washing is only effective when warm water and soap are used. According to the survey, only 50 per cent of middle and high school students wash their hands after using bathroom, besides, only 33 per cent of girls and 8 per cent of boys use soap (Peri 1).
The proper hand washing procedure lasts for 20 seconds and includes scrubbing of the palms, backs of the hands, skin between fingers and around the nails. The parents of the students are to be encouraged to provide their children with hand sanitizers which contain at least 60 per cent of alcohol for the situations when warm water and soap are unavailable (fieldtrips, excursions). Touching and sharing objects such as pencils, erasers, rulers or books is another way to expose children to an infection. Ideally, none of the school supplies are to be shared by students. Unfortunately, in most cases sharing of books or toys is unavoidable in preschools and elementary schools. In such cases children are to be educated concerning the germ etiquette. For example, they need t be taught to wash their hands after sharing an object with other children and avoid touching their mouths and noses during the interactions that involve sharing (Story, par 18).
In every school there are areas where the exposure of children to germs and infections is higher than anywhere else. The examples of such places are drinking water fountains, and cafeteria trays. It turns out that these areas contain more germs and bacteria than toilet seats. This occurs because washrooms are sanitized often, whereas cafeteria trays and drinking fountains are not perceived as high-exposure zones in most schools, so they may be overlooked. The teacher is to educate their students about correct behaviors in the areas of extreme germ exposure and tell them not to put their lips on the water spigots while drinking or not to pick up the food they dropped on the trays during lunch. The other representatives of germ carriers are the surfaces of electronic devices such as tablets, cell phones, and laptops (Levin, par. 20).
Children often share these devices, play games on each other’s tablets, and use each other’s computers. The teacher is to remind the students to wash hands every time after using the devices of other children, especially of the ones who are already infected.
Finally, the students should be taught to minimize their contact with the peers who have symptoms of flu or cold. Children are to be informed that close communication with infected individuals exposes one to the disease. There are a number of age-specific practices that could help the teacher implement the preventive measures and make the procedures more interesting for the learners. The younger children can be encouraged to follow the instructions and learn about the danger of germs and infection by means of games, crossword puzzles, or special badges (Dealing with Germs in the Classroom par. 10). For the older children it is important to provide the scientific side of the subject, and invite an experienced medical professional to give a lecture about the danger of getting infected.
Dealing with Germs in the Classroom. Teacher Vision. 2015. Web.
Levin, Heather. How to Help Your Kids Prevent the Spread of Germs at School. n. d. Web.
Peri, Camille. Germs in the School Room. 2015. Web.
Story, Colleen. Preventing the Flu at School. 2012. Web.