Whether it’s flu season, allergy season, cold season, or as of 2020 COVID19 season… staying healthy in the classroom is extremely important. I’m going to review a few tips to help remind you and your students to stay as healthy as possible. From hand-washing to simply taking care of yourself, these tips will help prevent spread of illness in your classroom and keep your kids as healthy as you can. These reminders will help keep the importance of staying healthy in your mind. Throughout the staying healthy in the classroom blog post, you may see affiliate links to Amazon as well for things to keep your classroom clean. Plus, there is a free hand-washing flip book included towards the end of the blog post!
Teach Kids to Wash Their Hands
It may not seem like the type of thing you have to teach your students to do step-by-step. But handwashing is something that needs to be taught just like adding and subtracting. Teach them the technique of handwashing at the beginning of the year and revisit it multiple times throughout the year. The 20-second rule is very important to focus on as well. At the end of this blog post, there’s a FREEBIE flip book to help teach your students how to wash their hands.
BrainPopJr. is my go-to for any science or social studies topic. They have a fantastic video all about washing hands. It put the technique and process into kid-friendly terms. Also, it discusses the importance of preventing the spread of germs throughout their classroom and home.
Teach the Elbow Trick
You may think that sneezing into one’s elbow is just common-knowledge or second nature. But students need to be taught the correct way to sneeze! Just like with hand-washing, you should teach students how to sneeze and revisit multiple times a year. When students feel a sneeze coming on, it’s important they try to sneeze into the nook of their elbow to block as much fluid flying into the air as possible.
Disinfect Doorknobs and Hot Spots Daily
No, your job as a teacher is not to clean stuff. But it is vital during cold/flu/covid outbreak season to clean and sanitize as much as possible. Your custodians are doing the best they can. But sometimes, they may not have time to cover all the germ-catchers in your classroom. Use Lysol spray or Clorox wipes to wipe down all hot spots in your classroom. These are things that are touched often throughout the day. Things such as the mouse on student computers, iPads, keyboards, doorknobs, desk tops, small group area, library bins. Below are two affiliate links to Amazon for wipes and spray that you can use after you kids go home for the day.
(Alert- Due to COVID outbreak, most Amazon disinfects are out of stock. I’m sorry about that!)
Shift to Individual Supplies During Flu/Cold Season
Your classroom may thrive with community supplies. If that’s the case, you’ve rocked lessons on organization, sharing, and teamwork. However, during the spread of germs and illnesses, shifting to individual supplies may be your best bet. Have the school funds to buy a school box for each kid, usually you can find them for a couple of bucks each! If you don’t have that ability or can’t find any at the time of year, use temporary Ziploc bags. Is it going to be pretty? Are they going to match your class theme? No… but it’s a temporary fix. Keep pencils, crayons, glue sticks, and scissors in gallon size Ziploc baggies if you don’t have school boxes. That way, students are only touching their own germs and preventing the spread.
Keep Yourself Well
Easier said than done when you’re a busy teacher… but it’s important to keep yourself healthy! Exercise, healthy eating, drinking enough water, and trying to prevent stress are all ways to try to keep yourself as healthy as can be. Wash your hands throughout the day often and be cognizant of any germ-spreading activities you can avoid in the classroom. Don’t forget to keep your mental health strong, too. Take mental health days when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Practice the art of saying no when you’re feeling like you have too much on your plate. Stay healthy, teachers!
When Illnesses are Going Around, Limit Sharing
Like I said above, community supplies may not be a great idea when illnesses are going around. Any type of sharing can help those germs spread from kid to kid quickly. Finding simple ways to avoid sharing in the classroom is key.
- Limit the number of kids are on classroom computers in a day (or before you have the chance to wipe it down and sanitize).
- Give students 6-7 individual books from the classroom library for the day. Sanitize at the end of the day and trade out the next day.
- Let them use individual school supplies.
- Have kids use a paper towel to hold the interactive white board pens and markers.
Don’t Try to Tough It Out
If you’re sick, stay home! When you’re a teacher, it is so difficult to prep for a sub. It’s one of the toughest things about deciding whether or not you should stay home. However, if you’re feeling like flu/covid/cold is coming on, please prevent the spread of germs and prep for a sub. This will help you get better quicker, and it will help your students stay healthy, too.
Free Hand-Washing Flip Book
This free flip book introduces how to wash students hands! It has a short reading passage with step by step instructions on the correct way to wash hands. Then, there is a follow-up comprehension questions set, an ordering activity, and a writing page. Download that here.
Thanks for reading this healthy classroom blog post. I hope you walked away with a couple reminders of how you can keep your classroom as clean and germ-free as possible!
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