Healthy Hands program reduces school absences

25 Seminole County elementary schools participating

WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. – A new program is showing students the importance of proper hand-washing this flu season.

"It's basic hand-washing, it's nothing new, it's just developing it in a way that kids are having a good time, and learning life lessons in a fun, light-hearted way," said Misa Mills, Seminole County involvement manager.

The Healthy Hands program is a thirty-minute lesson that teaches elementary students how to wash their hands with a visual, hands-on demonstration.

"We have some kids that it really hits home to them, you know, they stop biting their nails, they form better habits for themselves," said Kristina Meeks, PTA president of Keeth Elementary School.

The lesson begins with a video that explains the steps students will follow during their hands-onactivity. Then, the students put "fake germs," or glow-in-the-dark lotion, on their hands under a black light, simulating germs. To get the kids involved, the light is decorated and called a "glitter-bug."

"You can see the fake germs on your hands when you go under the glitter-bug, but the real ones you cannot see," said Kaelen Shannon, first gr-grader at Keeth Elementary School.

The program is in 25 elementary schools and is already getting results.

"We have demographic sheets that we have the teachers fill out, and then we track the classrooms to make sure that the program's working," Mills said. "And so far, it's working!"

Mills said any school is welcome to the program, they just need volunteers to go through training with Seminole County Public Schools Dividends and the Seminole County Health Department.

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