South Bay schools having students wash their hands to help prevent possible spread of virus

Some South Bay school districts are reinforcing an old staple of cleanliness as a way of combating the spread of germs.

At San Jose’s Trace Elementary School, the daily lesson plan now includes covering the basics of hygiene.

“They’re aware of how dirty their hands are prior to washing their hands,” said school nurse Valeria Gomez. “They tend to want to wash their hands more.”

With COVID-19 continuing to spread globally, multiple school districts in San Jose are taking a proactive approach to preventing the spread of infectious elements.

“We have already emphasized hygiene practices with all of our schools,” said Dr. Hilaria Bauer, the superintendent for the Alum Rock School District.

San Jose Unified officials say hand washing kits are going to all classrooms that serve the 30,000 students via the 50 staff nurses.

The kit demonstrates how easily germs can travel by touch, potentially transferring a virus from person-to-person.

Health Services Manager Melinda Landau says current best practices were forged during the H1-N1 outbreak a decade ago.

“When we see a higher than expected number of symptoms, we then act on it. We send out cleaning crews, to do not just cleaning, but disinfecting of rooms to try and stop the spread of the illness,” said Landau.

Many of the school districts in San Jose are taking similar steps. Officials with the East Side Union School District say they’ve ordered one temporary hand sanitizer for each classroom, and will have a permanent one installed this spring. Additionally custodians are disinfecting all of the student’s desks each night.

“We have to be prepared. We have to make sure we are ready to respond immediately should (a) case arise,” said Bauer.

It’s a crash course for students on how dangerous real-world problems can become.