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June 2, 2004 03:35 PM

CDC, SDA Honor Texas Students With
National Award for Hand Hygiene Program

  • Program to Reduce School Absenteeism Also Honors Florida, Ohio Students' Projects

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 2, 2004 - Students from Crownover Middle School in Corinth, Texas are the recipients of the Top Classroom Award from the "Healthy Schools, Healthy People - It's a SNAP!" National Recognition Program.

The School Network for Absenteeism Prevention (SNAP) is a joint project of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services, and The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA). SNAP challenges middle schools to develop programs that make hand hygiene a priority for students, teachers, school health personnel, administrators, and parents.

Texas Students - Collaboration Across Classes

The students of Crownover are being honored for their multidisciplinary approach to bringing hand hygiene into the curriculum. Several different departments joined together to implement the program. Science and math students took cultures and recorded data. Arts and skills-for-living students made posters in English and Spanish. Theater, technology, and language arts students collaborated on a hand hygiene video to premiere at a PTA meeting.

As the Top Classroom Award recipient, Crownover Middle School will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. for three students and a celebration for the classes that produced the project. The students and their chaperones will be honored at a June 8 reception at the Hotel Washington, Sky Terrace North, in Washington, D.C.

Florida, Ohio Schools Honored

Two other schools were honored in the 2004 SNAP National Recognition Program. Second place was awarded to the American History class at DeLaura Middle School in Satellite Beach, Florida for a project involving a hand hygiene survey, video and educational pamphlets. The Future Nurses Club of Maplewood Local Schools in Cortland, Ohio was awarded third place for developing activities to improve hand hygiene among area elementary students and the multiple handicapped classroom unit. The runner-up winners will each receive a cash award of $250.

The inaugural Top Classroom Award went to students at the Goodrich Middle School in Lincoln, Nebraska in 2003. Students created a comprehensive handwashing campaign including a DVD movie on proper handwashing techniques, a computer slide presentation, T-shirts, bookmarks, and multilingual posters on good hand hygiene. The Goodrich campaign was then promoted school-wide and complemented by school nurse demonstrations and awards for students with low absenteeism.

SNAP - "A Win-Win for Children's Health"

The SNAP program seeks to improve hand hygiene habits among middle school personnel and students to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases and reduce related absenteeism.

"Healthy Schools, Healthy People - It's a SNAP! is a public, private partnership that is a win-win for children's health," said CDC Director, Dr. Julie Louise Gerberding.

"It is increasingly vital that children fully understand and practice good hygiene behaviors. Teaching children these important life skills can make a world of difference to their improved health," said Nancy Bock, SDA Vice President of Education.

CDC states that handwashing is the single most important thing people can do to keep from getting sick and spreading illness. The SNAP initiative brings this message into schools, where nearly 22 million school days are lost due to the common cold and where certain strains of E. coli, salmonella and other bacteria can live on surfaces like cafeteria tables and doorknobs for up to two hours. While basic hygiene is generally learned during early childhood, research points to the benefits of repeating hygiene lessons during the K-12 curricula.

For more information about the SNAP program or to learn about participation, log on to www.itsasnap.org .