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Hey kid, wash your hands

New stations aim to stop MRSA

Posted: September 27, 2008 7:57 p.m.
Updated: November 29, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Kayla Keene, a seventh grader at Arroyo Seco Junior High, uses the new hand sanitizer station before entering the school cafeteria for lunch on Wednesday.

 

It’s foamy and easy and Hart District Governing Board Member Patricia Hanrion hopes that students will use the district’s new hand-washing stations to help prevent illnesses from spreading on campus.

The registered nurse and College of the Canyons nursing instructor pushed for the hand-washing stations for several years, and the William S. Hart Union High School District installed the units in school cafeterias in time for the start of school in August.

“I think it’s great,” Hanrion said. “It’s something I’ve been pushing for because of all the super bacteria that are out there, especially during flu season.

“Hand washing is the greatest prevention.”

The Hart district had two confirmed cases of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) last fall at West Ranch High School and another case last summer at Canyon High School.

The Canyon case involved a varsity football player and required the disinfecting of the athletic locker rooms and weight room.

MRSA is a virulent, drug-resistant form of staph that is preventable largely by practicing good hygiene. The best defense against MRSA and other staph infections is to wash one’s hands often with warm water and soap, experts believe.

The district plans to install more hand-washing stations in outdoor eating areas to make them accessible. Students often don’t have time to run to the rest room and wash their hands before heading to class, Hanrion said.

“By putting (the stations) near the food areas, we’re hoping to make it more convenient so the kids will wash their hands more often,” she said. “Some kids will go from the morning until they come home from school without washing their hands.”

Students often go to school sick because they don’t want to miss an important exam or assignment, Hanrion said. She hopes that having the hand-washing stations available will help keep illnesses from spreading.

“I’m sure if we can get kids to wash their hands and use the antibacterial soap, we can reduce illness,” Hanrion said. “By having the hand-washing stations right there — it’s foamy and it’s easy — I think it will be a really good thing.”

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