Univera Healthcare presented the Green & Clean program at Errick Road Elementary to teach students about proper hand washing. Over 500 students and teachers participated in this innovative initiative, designed to reduce the spread of germs and illness in elementary schools.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the number one way to stop the spread of infection and illness is to wash your hands. The CDC has detailed information on hand washing techniques on its Web site at www.cdc.gov/Features/HandWashing/.
"Green & Clean will not only help children and their families avoid catching colds and the flu, but will also help school districts reduce costly absenteeism among students and staff," said Univera Healthcare President Art Wingerter.
Nearly 144 million school days are lost due to illness, according to the Center for Vital Statistics.
Program goals for Green & Clean:
•Teach students proper hand washing techniques in order to prevent the spread of germs and illness
•Demonstrate where germs hide on hands when not washed properly
•Provide parents with information and resources to support proper hand washing habits at home
•Provide schools with touch free dispensers of soap and hand sanitizer to reduce the spread of illness
One component of the Green & Clean initiative uses a "germ buster machine" to visually highlight what parts of the children's' hands are missed when they wash and how easily germs are spread from person to person.
Another component is the Green & Clean code, a fun poem that serves a purpose. The children are instructed to recite the code twice while washing their hands. That takes about 20 seconds, which is the recommended time needed for proper hand washing.
Takeaway tools are provided to all participants including a Green & Clean "remember to wash" wristband and a colorful "window cling" for their bathroom mirrors so they remember the importance of washing their hands.
An information booklet is sent home to parents and includes tips for them to model healthy hand washing behaviors.
Finally, Green & Clean includes follow-up lesson plans for teachers, posters, certificates of completion and other online resources. For more information, visit www.univerahealthcare.com and type "Green & Clean" into the search tool.
"This is an opportunity for children, families and schools to adopt a simple healthy habit that can help reduce the spread of germs or illness," said Dr. Matthew F. Bartels, Univera Healthcare associate medical director and a practicing pediatrician with Lifetime Health Medical Group.
Green & Clean is available to any interested elementary school in Western New York.