A recent news article titled “Hand Hygiene Question” dated 9th October 2009, raised the question of “who is responsible for hand hygiene in our schools?” The following information may be of assistance.

The responsibility for hand hygiene policy and procedures in WA schools lays with the individual principals as is outlined in this release from The WA Department of Education and Training.

STUDENT HEALTH CARE ADVICE PAPER

HAND WASHING AND THE PROVISION OF SOAP IN SCHOOLS

The Department’s Student Health Care policy acknowledges that all public schools will endeavour to ensure that health care standards are met and that good health behaviour practices are promoted in schools. The promotion of good health practices is a shared responsibility between schools and parents.

To help maintain a healthy environment and to prevent, to the extent possible the spread of disease, schools should encourage hand washing and ensure that soap or another cleansing agent is provided.  Whilst there is no specific policy or procedural statement which identifies minimum requirements for provision by schools of hand-washing materials or facilities for students, the Department expects that these strategies are in place in schools.

Students should wash their hands:
– before preparing or eating food;
– after visiting the toilet;
– after being exposed to respiratory or other body fluids;
– after playing sport; and
– at any other time when the hands are soiled.

Hand washing should include a minimum of 15 seconds of lathering the hands and fingers with soap before rinsing and drying.

Funding and Resources

The Department provides funding to individual schools through the school grant. This funding may be used for the provision of products for hand washing.  Decisions about the strategies adopted, about materials or facilities provided, and about how they are made available for students are made by individual schools at the local level.

Source – WA Department of Education and Training website