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Frequent hand washing and hand sanitizing is the best way to reduce the spread of infections and illness among students, school staff and their family members. The Clean Hands Kit is an online resource from Toronto Public Health with activities and videos to teach children (grades 4 to 8) how to keep their hands clean.

This online kit was developed to help keep students and teachers healthy by reducing the spread of germs that cause illness (e.g. cold, flu) in school communities. It was produced by Toronto Public Health in collaboration with the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Catholic District School Board.

Our hands are the most common means of spreading germs. Frequent hand washing and hand sanitizing is the best way of reducing the spread of infections and illness amongst students, school staff and their family members.

The kit includes activities for students in grades 4 to 6, and a video for students in grades 4 to 8, to reinforce the clean hands message. It emphasizes the importance of frequent and proper hand washing and hand sanitizing to reduce illness.

What you will find in the online Clean Hands Kit:

  • A video suitable for up to grade 8 that helps students understand how to limit the spread of germs by frequently and properly washing and/or sanitizing their hands, and by covering their cough
  • Downloadable posters that depict the basic methods to reduce the spread of germs: proper hand washing, hand sanitizing, and covering your cough
  • An outline of the key messages for teachers to use in the classroom
  • A selection of activities to reinforce the key messages with students
  • Look for possible curriculum links and use it in the classroom
  • School assemblies
  • Lunch periods
  • Link to the Ministry of Education’s Foundations for a Healthy School

Ideas for Discussion:

  • Where have you seen hand sanitizer available in public places?
  • What are the different types of sinks available in schools, homes, malls, etc.?
  • How many times in a day should a person wash their hands?
  • What things have the students touched that can result in the spread of germs?

How the school can help students to keep their hands clean:

  • Provide opportunities for frequent hand cleaning
  • Provide a bottle of alcohol-based (70% to 90% alcohol) hand sanitizer in each classroom
  • Provide a box of tissues in each classroom
  • Provide bottles of hand sanitizer (70% to 90% alcohol) in the lunch room or cafeteria
  • Provide hand washing supplies/equipment in school washrooms (i.e. liquid soap, paper towels, functioning hand dryers, etc.)
  • Encourage students to inform school staff if hand washing supplies/equipment are not available in the washrooms

The Lather, Rinse, Defeat Germs video (4 minutes, 18 seconds) uses drama and humour to reinforce key messages about how germs are spread and the importance of hand washing and hand sanitizing.

Key Messages:

  • Germs are so small we cannot see them but they are found almost everywhere
  • There are many types of germs (bacteria and viruses)
  • Bacteria and viruses can cause illnesses and diseases such as cold, influenza, food poisoning, vomiting and diarrhea (commonly known as stomach flu)
  • Washing our hands is the best prevention against illnesses and diseases
  • If hands are not visibly soiled, using hand sanitizer is an alternative way of reducing illnesses and diseases

How to Wash Your Hands:

  • Wet hands
  • Apply soap
  • Lather for 15 seconds. Rub palms, back of hands, fingertips, between fingers and under the nails
  • Rinse well under running water
  • Dry hands well with paper towel or hot air blower
  • Turn taps off with paper towel, if available

How to Use Hand Sanitizer:

  • Apply sanitizer (70 – 90% alcohol-based) only if hands are not visibly soiled
  • Rub hands together
  • Work sanitizer between fingers, palms, back of hands, fingertips, under the nails
  • Rub hands until dry

When to Clean Your Hands:

  • After sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose
  • After using the washroom or changing diapers
  • After handling garbage
  • Before and after preparing or eating your food
  • After touching raw meat before touching other foods
  • Before and after touching a cut or open sore
  • When you cannot remember the last time you washed your hands
  • When your hands are visibly soiled

Points to Remember:

  • Hand hygiene message needs to be reinforced several times throughout the day,  especially before lunch and after using the washroom
  • Teach by example
  • For further lesson plans and activity ideas, please see “Bug Out! Get the Facts on Germs” or call 613-740-1900


Posters are available in more languages here.