C.S. asks from Channahon, IL on May 01, 2009
Teachers NOT Following Good Hygiene "Rules"/Swine Flu
Maybe I am one of those paranoid mothers . . .but my son seems to catch everything that goes around at school. All this swine flu news is upsetting and finding out that even with all the warnings given, my child NEVER washed his hands one time at school yesterday (and probably the days before) makes me angry. He is in Kindergarten. My son's class eats their snack on the floor after PE or Recess and uses half of a baby wipe to quickly go over their hands. Then they sit on the floor (which of course requires them to touch the dirty floor) and then eat while the teacher reads. The tables were never wiped all morning. My son never used the washroom and therefore never washed his hands for the entire school day. No one was encouraged to do so. I know this not only from him, but from a volunteer who was in the classroom yesterday. What do I do? Be extreme and keep him home and healthy. Call the teacher, the nurse, the principal??? I just don't think I would be taken too seriously. I love his teacher. She has been great other than this. The other kindergarten teachers follow the same procedures with the baby wipes instead of hand washing. I taught for 6 years before staying home with my kids and I know 25 kids washing hands takes a lot of time away from instruction, but I feel that it is necessary and always made time for it. Kindergarten kids just don't use proper hygiene without guidance. What should I do?
M.R. answers from Chicago on May 01, 2009
You're right to be concerned about hygiene but make sure you are reasonable in your request.
The best way to initiate this process would be to just call the teacher and express your concern...about the flu, not the "you suck as a teacher because you won't force kids to wash their hands!".
Your conversation could go something like this: "In light of the recent problem with swine flu, I'm left feeling a little concerned that my son or maybe even other children might not know the importance of frequent hand-washing and taking general precautions. I just want to make sure my son is able to and capable of making good choices when it comes to his personal health. How can you and I work as a team to help him with this? What kinds of things have you been doing with the class/requiring the kids to do as far as hand-washing is concerned?"
This approach makes it come from what you and your son can do to help himself, not as an accusatory overreaction to what she may or may not be doing. In using an approach like this, I can guarantee you'll get a much better response than just threatening to go to the principal if your demands aren't met immediately.
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M.W. answers from Chicago on May 01, 2009
I have a kindergartener too in 1/2 day kindergarten. Fortunately, my son's teacher does not do snack. I was also a teacher before staying home with my kids. I taught in a Catholic school 7/8th grades. I was pregnant while teaching, and quite frankly, I did not want to get sick. I always had my students wash their hands in the bathroom before lunch. I know I was the only teacher who did this in the school. Even my students kind of complained and moaned about it, but little do they know I was helping them. I also kept a big thing of antibacterial lotion on my desk and the students were encouraged to use, especially if they were sneezing or coughing into their hands. Honestly, I do not know why schools do not do this as a routine...is is laziness, or are they just set in their ways? If I were you, I would send a note to the teacher/principal stating that you would like your son to be given the opportunity to wash his hands i the bathroom prior to snack. At least you will know that he is doing this..even if the other students are not. I think it would come across better if you are asking on behalf of your son vs. telling her what to do with the whole class. I would then instruct your child to ask to wash his hands everyday before snack at school. I would also ask him when he gets home if he did it. Good Luck and stay healthy!
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J.S. answers from Chicago on May 01, 2009
I would go in before class to talk to the teacher and I would bring her a big bottle of Purell hand sanitizer. Say you understand how busy she is, but would really appreciate the kids getting a couple of squirts of hand sanitizer during the course of the day.
My daughter's K-teacher stands at the door after recess or gym class with hand sanitizer and gives everyone a squirt before heading back to their tables.
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C.O. answers from Chicago on May 01, 2009
Every child should be washing their hands when they arrive at school, before snack, after going to the washroom,after sneezing/coughing/blowing their nose and when they come inside from outside. Not using babywipes! That does not take care of the germs. They are in a school so I do not understand why they would need to use hand santizers instead of running water. Hand santizers are not tested on small children and can cause a reaction in children with sensitive skin. Maybe you could talk to the teacher and tell her your concerns about the hand washing and the swine flu. Also, if you know your son is ok with hand santizers you could see if it is ok for him to use it at school. When my daughters were younger they did not have the children wash their hands before luch. I found this rather disgusting and my kids were sick all the time. I started sending hand santizers in their lunch with them. When did schools decide hand washing was not handwashing was not important? No wonder children are sick so often!
C.P. answers from Chicago on May 01, 2009
I would call the school immediately. My son will be starting preschool next fall and I'm horrified to think that half a wet wipe is considered hand-washing, especially now that the swine flu is going around. I'm a college instructor and before I'd even heard about the swine flu, the college had signs up everywhere about hand-washing... and put out hand sanitizer all over the place for everyone to use. Prevention is very important. Plus, shouldn't we be teaching these things to children anyway? At the very least, there should be hand sanitizer being used on the kids. Why are the eating on the floor anyway? That is very disturbing!