Once the cold weather hits, the germs come out in full force. Yup, we’ve hit that nasty indoor germ-swapping season, where your average elementary school classroom becomes a petri dish of grubby germs.
As parents, we try. We arm ourselves and our kids with oodles of tiny hand-sanitizing bottles. We constantly encourage our kids to wash their hands. And if your household is anything like mine, the “encouraging” hand-washing goes something like this:
“Did you wash your hands? No, really– did you wash them? I see they’re wet, but did you wash them– with soap? GO.AND.WASH.YOUR.HANDS.”
Many kids like to skimp on washing their hands properly, but many kids also like to use their mom’s shirt as a tissue for their runny nose while tearing past, so…
But back to GERMS.
An elementary school science project shows in graphic, germy detail just what happens when kids DON’T wash their hands with soap and water.
Teacher Dayna Robertson of Discovery Elementary in Idaho Falls, Idaho had her class conduct a scientific experiment to gauge how important the thorough washing of hands is.
The experiment was shared on Facebook by the school’s behavior specialist Jaralee Metcalf, and it already has 49K shares… likely from people who want to hose their kids down with Clorox upon returning from school.
Five identical slices of bread from the same loaf were used in the experiment.
One slice was completely untouched by human hands. Another was touched by every student in the class. A third slice was touched by the kids- after they has washed their hands with soap and water.
A fourth slice was touched by the students after they applied hand sanitizer to their hands. And a fifth slice was swabbed over the cover of several of the classroom’s Chromebooks.
Each slice was contained in its own Ziploc bag, and left to marinate for 3-4 weeks in its own special germ garden.
And the results were, well, certainly a VIVID, graphic illustration of what happens when we don’t wash our hands.
Obviously there’s a huge discrepancy between the slices that were untouched or touched by students that has thoroughly washed their hands.
Both of those slices remained nearly impeccable, even after weeks.
But the “unwashed-touch” bread, on the other hand…
A colorful cornucopia of GERMS. Maybe a stomach virus or two on there, some fecal matter, who the hell knows?
The hand sanitizer bread slice:
Clearly either some kids skipped the sanitizer, or -as many kids tend to do- they didn’t apply it thoroughly on every part of their hands.
As teacher Dayna Robertson pointed out to news station KIDK3,
You know everybody kind of relies on those hand sanitizers to and to see results that were this drastic kind of made everybody realize that maybe we’re a little bit dirtier than we thought.
Let’s just hope that our kids are in the 70% sani-fresh portion of this slice, or they’re bringing home a lemon-santizer-smelling snot festival.
The Chromebook cover-swab bread:
What is this black magic??? It’s like staring into the soul of the worst sort of vomit-comet virus germ. For those who think technology in the classroom is a good thing, gaze upon your gory, germy fate.
To clarify, Metcalf specifically mentioned that the Chromebook covers normally ARE swabbed clean after each day’s use, and were left un-swabbed only for the purpose of this experiment.
If this is the type of germ gang that’s hanging out in your kid’s classroom, imagine what they’re bringing home to you each day!
But that was precisely the point of the experiment, and it hit home.
The bread experiment served as a powerful visual to the students (and to the rest of us!) what a profound difference proper hand-washing has in terms of germ control.
According to both Robertson and Metcalf, the students were amazed by the results, and several have mentioned, “I should wash my hands.”
(Notice there’s no “more” after the revelation to wash hands, because KIDS. But at least it’s a start, right?)
The science experiment reinforces a really important, yet simple concept: to avoid spreading germs, wash your hands. WITH SOAP.
Jaralee Metcalf is just as sick as we parents are in terms of our kids carting home all sorts of nasty microbes. As she states in her Facebook post, the bottom line to their kids’ cool-yet-creepy experiment:
As somebody who is sick and tired of being sick and tired of being sick and tired. Wash your hands! Remind your kids to wash their hands! And hand sanitizer is not an alternative to washing hands!! At all!
(And swab your phones, parents. Because if a kid’s Chromebook can grow that sort of dark horror, who the hell knows what our phones are capable of spawning??)
We did a science project in class this last month as flu season was starting. We took fresh bread and touched it. We did…