Sanitizing Your Classroom After a Flu Outbreak
No parent wants to see their child fall ill with the flu, and no teacher wants to see their students become ill, either. As a teacher, much of the responsibility lies on you to keep the children who enter your classroom safe and healthy. While it is not always possible to prevent a flu outbreak, there are certain measures you can take after it happens to make your classroom a safe, sanitary learning space.
Handwashing Is Paramount
It is always important to wash your hands, particularly after using the bathroom or prior to touching foods. This is especially true after a flu outbreak in the classroom. By washing our hands and properly teaching the children in our classroom to do so as well, we are able to better protect ourselves from bacteria and viruses that cause infections and the flu. Remember to teach the proper technique for washing your hands, including using warm water and plenty of soap and scrubbing your hands thoroughly. Promote handwashing in your classroom when students arrive at school, just before lunch, after using the bathroom, and just before leaving the classroom for the day.
- Handwashing Lesson Plans for Kindergarten Through Sixth Grade (PDF)
- Wash Your Hands: Stay Healhty! (PDF)
- Teaching Handwashing in School (PDF)
Wiping down surfaces with a disinfectant spray is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs in your classroom. It doesn’t take too much time or effort, and it can go a long way toward getting rid of germs before students can pick them up. When students leave the classroom for lunch and at the end of the day, take a few minutes to quickly wipe down all hard surfaces.
- How to Clean and Disinfect Schools to Help Slow the Spread of Flu
- Cleaning and Targeted Disinfecting in the Classroom
- Five Ways to a Cleaner, Healthier Classroom
Sometimes, Sharing Isn’t Caring
As a teacher, you try to promote the kindness that is sharing in your classroom. But after a flu outbreak, this can be extremely detrimental to your students’ health. Hang onto shared items such as crayons and pencil sharpeners at your desk, and have students ask to use these items. This will better allow you to monitor each item’s cleanliness, and you can then wipe them down and keep them clean as they are used so that the next child to use them doesn’t get sick. It is also not a bad idea to put a no-sharing policy in place at least for a little while after a flu outbreak. Should you choose to do this, it is important to explain how and why the policy came to be and that the students are encouraged to not share, just for now, so that they will remain healthy. Also, always be on the lookout for items that children are sharing. Discourage them from sharing things like beverages and utensils to prevent germs from spreading.
- Tips for Teachers to Keep Your Classroom Clean and Healthy (PDF)
- Preventing the Spread of Illness in Child Care or Schools
- Cleaning and Sanitation Chart (PDF)
Get Parents to Help Out
It is your duty as a teacher to seek out help from your students’ parents when you need it. After a flu outbreak in your classroom, get in touch with the parents of your students and be open and honest about what happened as well as the steps you are taking to sanitize your classroom and help prevent future outbreaks. Create an open-door policy and encourage parents to call or drop in to discuss any questions or concerns that they may have. This is also a good time to ask parents for their assistance in preventing the spread of the flu virus. Implore parents to have their children wash their hands regularly. If their child is sick, ask that the parents not send them to your classroom until they are feeling well again. It is also a good idea to ask parents to send in flu-prevention supplies like extra tissues, sanitizing wipes, and hand soap. Every little bit matters when it comes to preventing the spread of the flu in your classroom. In addition, you should never feel bad about asking parents for help: They want to keep their children healthy just the same as you do.
- Cleaning for Healthy Schools and Infection Control (PDF)
- Cleaning to Reduce Influenza in Schools (PDF)
- Tips From School Nurses on Keeping Students Healthy