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Healthy Schools, Healthy People, It's a SNAP
Program Fact Sheet

2012SNAP Awards

  • The "Healthy Schools, Healthy People – It’s a SNAP" program is a joint project of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services, and the American Cleaning Institute.
  • The School Network for Absenteeism Prevention (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.
  • SNAP is designed to motivate school administrators to facilitate school environments conducive to improving hand hygiene and reducing illness. SNAP encourages students in grades K-12 to identify and implement practical, inexpensive strategies and solutions for improving the quality and frequency of handwashing.
  • SNAP seeks to demonstrate effective peer-to-peer handwashing education programs and ensure that school environments are conducive to simple preventative health behaviors such as handwashing.
  • SNAP is a grassroots, education-based effort to improve health by making hand cleaning an integral part of the school day.
  • The SNAP National Recognition Program motivates school teams from across the nation to create their own clean hands awareness projects.
  • First piloted in 2003, in more than 40 states and Canada, now thousands of schools and hundreds of thousands of students have used the SNAP Toolkit to improve hand hygiene in their schools. Over the last nine years, 27 schools have earned national recognition and cash awards totaling over $30,000!
  • To learn more about the SNAP program, go to www.itsasnap.org
  • To request a free toolkit, send an email to SNAP@cleaninginstitute.org

Facts on hand hygiene

  • According to CDC, keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. (CDC, 2010)
  • 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. (CDC, 1996)
  • 52.2 million cases of the common cold affect Americans under the age of 17 each year. (CDC, 1996)
  • Students don’t wash their hands often or well. In one study, only 58% of female and 48% of male middle and high school students washed their hands after using the bathroom. (American Journal of Infection Control, 1997)
  • A study of Detroit school children showed that scheduled hand washing, at least four times a day, can reduce gastrointestinal illness and related absences by more than 50%. (Family Medicine, 1997) 
  • For additional information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about handwashing go to www.cdc.gov/handwashing