Return to Headlines

How Are We Promoting Hand Hygiene in Our Schools?


Hand Hygiene: Promoting It In Our Schools

Germs are everywhere! They can get onto hands and items we touch during daily activities and make us sick.

Cleaning hands at key times with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropyl alcohol content if soap and water is not readily available is one of the most important steps a person can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to those around you. Cleansing hands helps prevent a variety of infections because:

  • People frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without even realizing it. Germs can get into the body through the mouth, nose, and eyes and make us sick.
  • Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to other objects, like handrails, tabletops, or keyboards, and then be transferred to another person’s hands.
  • Removing germs through handwashing therefore helps prevent diarrhea and respiratory infections and may even help prevent skin and eye infections.

Establishing a culture of hand hygiene

  • Daily routines for students and staff to wash hands, especially at key times like after bathroom breaks, before lunch, or after playing outside.
  • Providing hand sanitizers with at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropyl alcohol content (as recommended by CDC) for teachers, staff, and students. Hand sanitizers may be placed near frequently touched surfaces (e.g., doors, shared equipment) and areas where soap and water are not readily available (e.g., cafeterias, classrooms, gyms).
  • Encouraging supervision of young children and students with special healthcare needs when they use hand sanitizer to prevent swallowing alcohol or contact with eyes.

According to Delaware Department of Education Emergency Order regarding Regulation 817 Medications and Treatments, parents/guardians are not required to provide permission for their student to use hand sanitizer but can indicate to the school that their student is unable to use hand sanitizer or needs assistance with self-use of hand sanitizer.

The Parent/Guardian Letter: Hand Sanitizer Opt Out/Assistance with Self-Use, provided by the Delaware Department of Education, may be found at the links below:


via the Delaware Department of Education