Do Your Schools Allow Bathroom Break to Wash Hands Before Lunch?

Updated on September 09, 2009
G.R. asks from Chula Vista, CA
7 answers

My daughter is in public school and has been getting so much paper work on Swine flu, which I think is great. Most of it is on washing hands, sneezing in your elbow, using tissue when you sneeze,etc etc. I asked my daughter who is in 3td grade if they go to the bathroom to wash their hands before lunch , she said NO. I talked with other parnets who also were told by their children that they do not wash their hands before they eat!!! Does anyone else have this experience. Of course I want to talk with the principal but not sure, another parent suggested going to talk with the nurse first. I just can't beleive that they are not sending them to the bathroom before lunch. As a kid I remember having to go to the bathroom before lunch!!! I encourage all of us mamas out there to some how bring this to the schools attention before the flu season starts. any suggestions how?

2 moms found this helpful

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S.H.

answers from Honolulu on

At my daughter's school, public school... they as a matter of routine, ALL go to the bathroom AND wash hands before lunch, and after the playground etc.
Beyond that, the kids use the bathroom when they need to, and wash hands (hopefully), as they are reminded....BUT as you know, not all kids wash hands, but they will say they did....and I have seen kids do this with my own eyes.

In light of the Swine Flu... yes, the schools has been sending out, per the State Health Department, notices about it and on prevention and how to keep your kids home if sick etc.

Beyond that, myself speaking, I have voluntarily provided my daughter's classroom with big pump bottles of hand sanitizer (both alcohol and non-alcohol based types)... AND spoken to the Principal about it, in a casual manner. (The Principal is a very cool guy and responsive/responsible to concerns), lots of parents talk to him. Some schools... in light of the Flu... have THUS installed hand-santizer dispensers around campus & in public areas, AND motion triggered paper-towel dispensers/faucets (to reduce hand touching/germs on hand knobs etc).
-I ALSO... have kindly suggested to my daughter's Teacher, that they NEED to wash hands more frequently, in relation to my "donation" of hand sanitizers.
- And another Mom in my daughter's classroom... has VOLUNTEERED to wipe down all the desks/chairs/tables in the classroom with diluted Clorax and Lysol wipes... in the mornings. (the Teacher lets her into the classroom about 15 minutes before school starts). So, this was that Parents "solution" and her own way to help.
You as a Mom, can volunteer in some way, for your child's classroom, in a like manner.

Ultimately.... you should/can express your concerns to your Child's Teacher. Simply ask "how" the kids are reminded about hygiene/sanitation habits... and IF the Teacher will "enforce" more frequent hand-washing and bathroom visits.

I would, kindly ask your kids Teacher that they go and wash hands... before/after lunch, and before/after recess. I don't think that is too much to ask. And "reminding" students of how to sneeze in your elbow.

BUT, keep in mind, that all the reminding and germ-policing a Teacher does.... does not eradicate germ spreading... as child habits are just that... and many kids simply do NOT think about sneezing in their elbow nor do they care about washing hands... nor using a tissue for their nose. I see it all the time in my daughter's school- kids NOT doing these habits. It just human nature. And kids are forgetful. My daughter as well, will tell me that not all kids wash their hands EVEN THOUGH the Teacher talks to them about it and there are posters in their room & the bathroom about it. AND my girl tells me that MOST kids just sneeze IN their hands... and they don't know how to sneeze in their elbow, or they pick their nose, and wipe their noses with their hands or clothing. Or they wipe their noses with their hands and then wipe their hand on their desk, on purpose. So... being kids, they do these things. A school can do as much as they can.... but kids don't always "follow" hygiene practices themselves.
The best you can do, is make sure YOUR child, knows HOW to protect themselves against germs and are clean/washed hands.

All the best,
Susan

1 mom found this helpful
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T.L.

answers from Boston on

I agree the parent asking the question and also with the respondent who said in many cases, it's very difficult or impossible to get all the classrooms into a batrhoom prior to a lunch period. In some schools you are talking about a thousand children and maybe 5-10 sinks and a limited lunch break. Due to all of the mandated topics to teach, kids in my state get one 15 minute recess a day and most do not get any time to play after lunch. There is about 20minutes-30minutes for the lunch period. My son brings home extra food in his lunchbox that he did not get time to eat and tells me that those who buy their lunch and have to stand in line often don't have enough time to eat it. So, you can imagine that finding time to form lines and work a classroom through a crowded bathroom would be tricky- and probably make them have to lose recess time, since you can't skip math or reading. I think the best solution would be to have each kid receive a squirt of hand sanitizer like Purell as they walk single file out the classroom door towards the cafeteria. That way, an adult knows that 100% of the children have sanitized hands before putting their hands in their mouths. Of course, there are more times when clean hands are necessary, but before lunch is the most important and would have the most impact.

1 mom found this helpful
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R.J.

answers from Los Angeles on

G.,

I have the same problem with my childs school, he too goes to a public school. There was also a time that they sent out MRSA information and I went to the PTA meetings, the principal always attended and brought my concerns, I was told that it was brought up with the school nurse, and still nothing is being done. My husband and I make time to have lunch with our child almost everyday, that is the only way we could monitor handwashing before recess or lunch. We see no lines to the restrooms for handwashing what so ever, the lunch bell rings, and the children run to the lunch lines. We definitely need to get something started, need ideas.

R.

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H.A.

answers from San Diego on

My DS in 1st grade has drink/hand-washing break after morning recess, before lunch/afternoon recess and after lunch. It's just what the children do as they file in/out of the classroom.

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J.L.

answers from San Diego on

Hi G., the best advice I can give you moms who have kids like 3rd and up to keep hand sanitizer in their back packs. To take an entire class to the bathroom to wash hands is not practical for time sake, lunch is only so long, and in most classes they are working up to the time the lunch bell rings. Younger children can keep baby wipes in their backpacks to wipe their hands before they eat. As parents we need to teach are children good habits like keeping their hands and fingers out of their mouths and noses. You can talk to the school nurse and see if you can get some changes, but I don't think they will change much. J. L.

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A.M.

answers from Santa Barbara on

I must preface with...my husband and I are both teachers.

Personally I don't agree with using hand sanitizer --especially on little kids BUT that is what my kids' school does. I know it makes logistical sense, but it certainly peeved me to hear they were not washing their hands and instead lathering my kids up with chemicals. I'd rather see several of those portable washing stations you see at fairs/zoos especially near the exit of the animal/petting area. But to address your question...Im sure you will have some sort of success if you approach the administration or school board--especially with the fear everyone has of swine. At the very least you could ask the moms to provide pump type bottles of hand sanitizer (not the flip top squirt ones as those are not efficient with regards to time) and ask the teacher to keep it at the door and each kid gets a squirt when they exit and/or enter. I think it is a simple task most teachers would find easy to implement into their daily routine especially being that it is the beginning of the school year. Good luck!

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D.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

I live in So. Ca. My children were not taken to the bathroom to wash their hands in grade school before they ate. Since they often brought their lunch to school I tried to insist that they take themselves to the bathroom before they ate. However, I learned that there really wasn’t much of a reason for them to do so. It was school policy that there was NO SOAP in any of the bathrooms at my children’s school! It seems that some of the younger kids once made a mess with the soap, so the principle removed the soap dispensers in every bathroom through out the school. I found this out when I was spending the day volunteering with in my child’s classroom. Yep, I spent the day taking care of little kids with no way to wash my hands with anything but water after I used the facilities! (They had no paper towels either) Unbelievable, boy would I have been happy to have a bottle of hand sanitizer that day. My advice is to push this anyway you can. Raising money and awareness to get proper equipment so that children could actually wash their hands would cut down on illness in our schools in significant ways. With the threat of swine flue maybe someone will finally listen. After all there is the threat of someone suing if they deny access and the unthinkable happens. Good Luck to you. I hope you make progress with this, I think it’s very important. I’d love to know how you make out.

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