Where to Place Hygiene Stations in Schools

With most districts returning to on-campus learning this Fall, it’s important for schools to deploy all necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of students in their care. Per the CDC, there is no more important preventive measure than proper and frequent hand hygiene.

To this end, there are two primary defenses—traditional soap and water, and alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Which is better at protecting individual and public health? Per the CDC, soap and water is always the best option. However, in instances where soap and water are not available, or physical contact with others is unlikely, then alcohol-based hand sanitizer could suffice.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/pdf/hand-sanitizer-factsheet.pdf

Sanitizing Stations Graphic
Since the spread of COVID-19, manufacturers have introduced several solutions to the market for both hygiene protocols. Since it’s impractical (and often impossible) to install permanent handwash sinks in hallways, outdoors, or other non-traditional spaces, several mobile hand sink carts are now available.

Likewise, while some schools previously had sanitizer dispensers in a few locations, most were not equipped to offer sanitizer everywhere it’s needed—particularly if there’s no wall to mount to. To tackle this issue, new dispensers have come on the market, as have various free-standing bases to hold dispensers, gallon jugs, and bottles.

Where should I place each type of hygiene station?

CRP Recommended Hygiene Station Placement

BUILDING ENTRANCES

It is strongly recommended for schools to place hygiene stations either just outside, or just inside, of building entrances. Students, staff, and visitors should be required to clean hands before entering the building. Recommend Hygiene Station Type: Hand sinks or Hand Sanitizer Dispensers


CAFETERIA

Before eating in the cafeteria, students should wash hands with soap and water—whether in existing restroom facilities or using mobile handwash stations placed at cafeteria entrances and/or leading up to the serving line. Recommend Hygiene Station Type: Hand sinks


GYMNASIUM

If your gymnasium is being used for overflow cafeteria space via your COVID-19 mitigation plan, then follow guidelines above for cafeterias. If your gymnasium is being used for physical education or convocations, then entrances and exists should have some type of hygiene station to be used by all participants.  Recommend Hygiene Station Type: Hand sinks or Hand Sanitizer Dispensers


LIBRARIES, LABS, AUDITORIUMS, AND MULTI-PURPOSE ROOMS

In other mass-gathering spaces outside of cafeterias and gymnasiums, it is highly encouraged you at minimum place hand sanitizing stations at the entrances.  Recommend Hygiene Station Type: Hand sinks or Hand Sanitizer Dispensers


CLASSROOMS

All classrooms should have hand hygiene stations of some sort. The best case scenario would be portable hand sink carts located inside the classroom. If that is not feasible, classrooms should have hand sanitizer dispensers near the classroom entrance—either in the hallway or just inside the door. In addition, each classroom should have hand sanitizer available at strategic locations around the room—particularly if there are any shared supplies or resources.  Recommend Hygiene Station Type: Hand sinks and Hand Sanitizer Dispensers


PLAYGROUND BUILDING RE-ENTRY

Whichever doors students use to re-enter the building from the playground, it is highly recommended that portable handwash stations be installed at those entrances. Per the CDC, a hand sanitizer is only a backup option if soap and water are not available. Also, hand sanitizer will not remove dirt and grime from hands. Since playgrounds by nature are shared space with frequent hand contact, the safest thing to do is require soap and water handwashing after the playground period.  Recommend Hygiene Station Type: Hand sinks


OTHER SPACES

For all other spaces where students, faculty, staff, or visitors enter, you are encouraged to at-minimum provide hand sanitizer stations.  Recommend Hygiene Station Type: Hand sinks or Hand Sanitizer Dispensers.

 

 

FINAL NOTES

It goes without saying, but hand hygiene stations can only help “prevent the spread,” if students, staff, faculty, and visitors actually use them, and repeatedly. So be sure to secure line items in your budget for a periodic refill of soap, sanitizer, paper towels, and other necessary hand hygiene products. Once you establish a baseline for monthly usage, your Central Restaurant Products consultant can help get you set up on a monthly re-order schedule. This will save you time and effort, but more importantly, prevent you from getting caught with a shortage of critical COVID-19 prevention supplies.