Date: 18-03-2018

In this article, Tatjana Ahmed, Housekeeping Manager, Grand Hyatt Dubai, talks about school bus hygiene.

Kids may be swapping more than sandwiches at lunch and bringing home more than homework at the end of the school day. According to the research, more than 22 million school days are lost every year due to illness. Good hygiene starts at home, and a good hand washing technique is just one thing that will help cut down on the transmission of germs.

Morning after morning, thousands of children board the bus to go to school. By afternoon, once school is over, these same kids board the bus again - some of them just coming off the soccer field, shirts and pants drenched in sweat. The kids are tired, coughing and sneezing with dust from the field. This is where the transmission of germs gets the best opportunity. While we do not want to criticize schools for their hygiene standards, the question that arises is, who checks and controls the cleanliness of classrooms, sprorts equipment, lockers, washrooms and the bus interiors?

Most often, the school bus conditions are often overlooked and forgotten, but they present a perfect breeding groung for pathogenic microorganisms and, of course, other environmental contamination. Children transfer germs and bacteria by touching all sorts of areas such as the hand rails, arm rests, seat belt straps and windows. Especially when the bus runs on several timings, dropping off the little ones at noon before giving a ride to the older school children an hour or two later. Was the bus checked and the seats wiped after the little ones got off the bus?

Millions of germs become airborne when someone sneezes or coughs. You may breathe them or they may settle on the objects around you. When you touch those objects and then touch your nose with your infected hands, you may have started the process of becoming sick. This is a daily threat to students, teachers and the families they go home to.

Therefore, it is not a secret that children can bring home cold and flu from school. A cough or a sneeze can spread across many feet in the confined space of a classroom or school bus. It so happens that once one child gets sick many others follow. Infections spread easily due to the close proximity of students in crowded environments. Hot spots for germ are bathrooms, desks, doors, and computer keyboard and mouse and hand rails among others. Even the pencil one student shares with another can be contaminated and the culprit to an infection. So how can parents or teachers protect the children from collecting germs?

1. Educate your children about germs. What they are and how they can be passed on.
2. Arm them with tissues for masking coughs and wiping noses including sanitary wipes for cleaning hands. Remind children of cough etiquette.
3. Teach hygiene habits for hand-washing and have them wash hands before eating their school snack and as soon as they arrive home.
4. Ensure they carry a small bottle of liquid/gel hand sanitizer for their daily hygiene routine to help protect them from germs.