If nothing else, the pandemic provided an upcoming generation of students the most concrete example of why handwashing and hygiene are important habits to keep. But as William C. Miller, professor of epidemiology and senior associate dean for research at the College of Public Health at Ohio State University points out in a Washington Post feature, mentors still have plenty of room for improvement when it comes to explaining to children why exactly handwashing and avoiding virus-prone surfaces is essential.
What many kids are missing, Miller explains, is the half the message regarding the risk of spreading germs and viruses. The main objective kids have been trained to believe is that handwashing and hygiene are important so that they can protect themselves. While true and a valuable point, mentors in educational facilities — including custodians and other cleaning staff employees — can also explain to students that handwashing and safety measures protect not just themselves, but those around them who may be more prone to those same illnesses.