Germs meet their match in hand-washing campaign |

Germs meet their match in hand-washing campaign

Kay Vasilakis

Sometimes little hands don’t get as clean as they should. That’s when help from someone a little kid looks up to can make a big impression.

Rifle Middle School biology teacher Joyce Wizer is promoting this awareness with her sixth and seventh graders, who are teaching first graders how to wash their hands correctly. They will be traveling to Highland Elementary on Monday, Nov. 24, from 9-11 a.m., and to Wamsley Elementary School on Tuesday, Nov. 25. Effective hand washing is vital to good health, especially in highly populated facilities. This step can help keep colds and strep from wreaking havoc in our lives.

Wizer is admittedly very “germ-aware.” Her students make and illustrate their own original books about hand washing and take them to elementary schools to teach the first-grade students the fine art of hand washing. Before the students have a snack together, everybody must wash their hands.

After the younger students wash their hands side by side with the older students, they use GloGerm, a special nontoxic lotion, to demonstrate the areas on the hands that need more washing attention. The little kids have fun with the activity, and that fun is transferred into more conscientious behavior.

“The students have been very engaged, and their work is wonderful,” claimed Wizer.

This focus on hand washing, and the writing of hand washing books, covers language arts and science standards.

The germ-conscious teacher quoted a CNN statistic that says 49 percent of Americans are not washing their hands in public restrooms. “I like restrooms that have paper towels so you can use a paper towel to turn on the water and to open the door, etc.”

“One of the facts that I’ve learned in researching is that people usually have a much cleaner left hand, unless they’re left handed,” Wizer said. “You use your right hand more opening doors, etc., and then you use your right hand more to wash your left hand. The pointer I give kids is to pay attention to both hands and the areas between the forefinger and thumb, the L-shaped inside part.”

“Another thing I learned is that if you just rinse your hands, you are actually promoting bacterial growth, because they get wet and then warm, and ‘ritual washing’ makes it worse. So take time, and use warm water and soap. I have them sing a song ” “Happy Birthday to Me,” or the “ABC” song twice.”

Wizer says that antibacterial products act as selective agents. Any bacteria surviving the antibacterial soap are now more dangerous than the ones not exposed to the antibacterial soap. She says the act of scrubbing away the dead skin cells is the most beneficial thing about hand washing.


On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, Riverside Middle School will hold an assembly, organized by the New Castle Lions Club, to honor the veterans in our community.

In addition to this highly meaningful assembly, an American Literacy Night will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to hear the students sing and share Veterans Day essays and poems about America.

Through a grant from the Tall Timbers Reading Council, students have had the opportunity to read numerous books about American symbols, songs, landmarks and immigration stories telling the reasons people from all over the world come to America. These books will be on display during the evening as part of a scavenger hunt.

Parents and children can search for answers in these books for prizes. Meaningful documents, stories, and photographs from local veterans will be displayed throughout the evening.

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