Kids around the country are now back in school (or headed there) and a simple science experiment re-circulating on social media reminds us that classrooms and little hands are hot zones of all kinds of yucky, gross germs.
Courtney Lee Simpson, an elementary school teacher, posted this simple photo in late 2014. However, it’s making the rounds on Facebook again this week.
Her post has been shared worldwide more than 307,000 times.
The science experiment
Simpson took three slices of bread and put them in Ziploc bags. But it’s how she did it that demonstrated how gross and fast germs disperse.
- Bag 1: She used a clean white glove, placed a slice in a bag
- Bag 2: She washed her hands, with bare hands placed a second slice in a bag
- Bag 3: Took a third slice, passed it to every child to touch and hold, then placed in a third bag.
When they came back a short while later, the slice in Bag 3 already looked “grungy,” she said.
The next day, her point was proven to the entire class.
Other teachers now say this simple experiment is part of their first week of school rundown.
‘Hot zones’ are breeding grounds for germs
Dr. Harley Rotbart, University of Colorado pediatric professor, calls schools “germ candy stores.”
“It is stunning how many times kids touch their faces and then touch other kids,” he said.
Kids live in a very “touchy-feely” world, which is how germs are spread. He said “hot zones” for germs at school include:
- No. 1: drinking fountains.
- No. 2: cafeteria trays, assembly lines.
- No. 3: doors.
Keep sick kids home
Parents, can we chat for a second? Can we all agree the above photo is utterly disgusting?
Let’s make a pact. Can we please try NOT to make the germ problem worse by sending our sick kids to school?
Yesterday, my youngest son’s school nurse called. He puked in class. Twice. Then four more times, once all over me.
It’s the second week of school, mind you.
But back-to-school illnesses are so common these days that the phenomena actually has a name. It’s known as the “Back-to-School plague.”
Ways to stay healthy at school
- Sleep: Children need 10 to 11 hours. Sleep deprivation lowers the immune system’s ability to fight off germs.
- Exercise: Children need 40 minutes per day.
- Diet: Children need vitamin C-rich foods, they naturally fight colds off.
- Hand-washing: Teach kids to sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song all the way through while washing their hands.
Rotbart said the “back-to-school plague” typically is an elementary-school issue, but recent years indicate it’s a growing concern in middle and high schools, as well.
Wash your hands frequently, thoroughly.