If you are a teacher who will be headed back to school in-person this fall, you probably have a lot of concerns about cleanliness, disease prevention, and sanitization. Your district has probably released a lot of guidelines as to how you are expected to keep your classroom clean and your students healthy. But it is still up to you to innovate and adopt principles that will work. One good way to promote health and hygiene in the classroom is by providing individual hand sanitizers to all of the kids. Here is some more guidance on doing so:
1. Purchase a large package of sanitizer bottles now.
Right now sanitizer is readily available, but if the pandemic has taught the world anything, it's that there's a potential for products to become unavailable at any time. So head out now before school starts, and stock up on small, individual bottles of hand sanitizer. You can find 72-pack, 8 oz antiseptic hand sanitizer gel, for example. Buy twice as many bottles as you have students. This way, when a student runs out, you can give them more sanitizer. When your supply gets low, you can re-stock.
2. Have the kids each take a bottle of sanitizer and put their name on it.
Giving each kid their own sanitizer bottle works so much better than having a community container of sanitizer. This way, the kids won't spread germs by touching a shared sanitizer bottle or when standing in line to use the shared bottle. You can also keep an eye on who is using their sanitizer and who is not. If a certain kid has 3/4 of the bottle left and everyone else's sanitizer is almost gone, you know to remind that child to use their sanitizer more often.
That being said, you should have each child write their name on their bottle of sanitizer once they receive it. Use permanent markers. This way, there won't be any cries of "he took my sanitizer!" throughout the semester.
3. Tell parents about your strategy.
Inform parents that you will be giving each child a bottle of sanitizer for their own use. This will help reassure parents that you're taking steps to be sanitary in the classroom. It will also give parents an opportunity to talk to kids about using their own sanitizer, when to use the sanitizer, and the importance of not taking other kids' sanitizer bottles. Work with the parents on this one, since for young kids especially, being so conscious about cleanliness in school will feel unfamiliar.
With small bottles of sanitizer, you can keep a clean, healthy classroom this year. Good luck!