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This policy was drafted in May 2002, reviewed in October 2009 during H1N1 pandemic (Swine Flu) and again in August 2020 following COVID-19. 

Infections in school children are common. Schools are ideal places for the spread of infectious diseases because of the large numbers of young people of different ages in close contact with each other. 

Hand washing is the single most important part of infection control; its purpose is to remove or destroy germs that are picked up on the hands. Many studies have shown that unwashed or improperly washed hands are the primary carriers of infections. It must be noted that wearing gloves is NOT protection against bacteria, the H1N1 Virus (Swine Flu) and/or COVID-19.

Teaching students the skills of hand washing, along with coughing and sneezing etiquette is essential in breaking the chain of infection.

Rigorous hand washing and hygiene procedures are employed in St. Clare’s Primary School to reduce the spread of infection. 

Effective Hand Washing
Infectious Disease in Schools - October 2014 HSE
Good toilet and hand washing facilities are important for infection control. Students of all ages are encouraged to wash their hands and teachers and special needs assistants avail of every opportunity to emphasise the importance of clean hands to students in the prevention of the spread of infection. The staff of St. Clare’s lead by example. Having clean hands is the best way to stop the spread of harmful germs.

Hand Washing Facilities 

Adequate hand washing facilities are provided to meet the needs of the school population.
Wash hand basins, warm running water and liquid soap dispensers are provided in all bathrooms, kitchen, staff room and other food preparation areas.

Percussion taps are installed in all hand basins. 


When to wash hands (Poster Appendix 3)

•    before and after eating
•    before handling food
•    after using the toilet 
•    when hands are visibly dirty
•    after coughing, sneezing or wiping one’s nose
•    after touching cuts, blisters or open sores
•    after handling pets and other animals
•    after playing in sandboxes
•    after playing with water
•    after playing outside


Hand Hygiene
Hand drying facilities shall not be shared between students. Hence student bring their own small hand towel in a zip lock plastic bag for their own use. Hand towels should be taken home and laundered daily.

Students are taught to wash their hands using the following method 

  1. Make sure that you have your hand towel. 

  2. Push the tap to run the water.

  3. Wet your hands with water and apply liquid soap.  

  4. Rub your hands together palm to palm until the soap forms a lather.

  5. Rub the back of one hand with your palm and fingers spread so you wash between your fingers. Repeat with the other hand. 

  6. Interlock the top of your hands and rub your fingertips, this cleans your fingertips and knuckles.

  7. The finally grasp your thumb tightly and twist to make sure your thumbs are cleaned. Repeat with the other hand.

  8. This will take at least 20 seconds 

  9. Rinse your hands under the running water.

  10. Dry your hands with your hand towel. 

  11. The tap will turn off automatically.

  12. Put the hand towel back in the zip lock bag and close. 

  13. Hand washing signs are displayed in all toilet areas.

N.B. - Washing hands after eating is especially important for students who eat with their hands, to decrease the amount of saliva (which may contain organisms) on their hands.

After assisting a student with hand washing, the teacher or SNA should wash their own hands. 


Board of Management




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