One of the most major breakthroughs in preventing the spread of illnesses and infections in hospitals was embarrassingly simple. Wash your hands. In 1846, Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis discovered that hand washing played a vital role in the spread of germs, and the practice soon became mandatory in hospitals. The simple act of scrubbing hands with soap and water literally saved lives.

Getting a kid to wash their hands, however, can be an uphill battle. One teacher did a simple experiment to show her students just how important hand washing is.


"We did a science project in class this last month as flu season was starting," teacher Dayna Robertson wrote on Facebook. "We took fresh bread and touched it. We did one slice untouched. One with unwashed hands. One with hand sanitizer. One with washed hands with warm water and soap. Then we decided to rub a piece on all our classroom Chromebooks." Robertson later noted that they normally do make a point to sanitize the classroom Chromebooks, but didn't that day in the name of science.

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The bread was put into plastic bags and the germs were left to fester. The bread that had been touched by unwashed hands and the bread that had touched the Chromebook had the most mold on it. The experiment proves that nothing beats soap and water. The bread that had been touched by hands washed with soap and water remained (relatively) good enough to eat.



This experiment has been done before, but Robertson expanded on it by testing the effectiveness of hand sanitizer. The bread that had been touched by hands cleaned with sanitizer also had a fair amount of mold on it, although not as much as the bread touched by unwashed hands.

"As somebody who is sick and tired of being sick and tired of being sick and tired," Robertson wrote. "Wash your hands! Remind your kids to wash their hands! And hand sanitizer is not an alternative to washing hands!! At all!" It's kind of making us retroactively gag over seeing port-a-potties with hand sanitizer set up in lieu of sinks.

The experiment was prompted by a different science lesson. "We had just finished a science lesson on how leaves break down during winter. The kids were kind of grossed out by the mold, so we decided to run our own version using germs and mold from our own environment," Robertson told Scary Mommy.

RELATED: A brutally honest kindergarten teacher shares five reasons why she quit the profession

Weirdly, the classroom experiment received some criticism. "Lots of people actually DEFENDED not washing their hands!" Robertson told Scary Mommy. "That was shocking! It really was just a simple classroom experiment to teach about mold but we have all learned more about how easily we can spread the germs we can't see."

The moral of the story is, please, please remember to always wash your hands.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

When schools closed early in the spring, the entire country was thrown for a loop. Parents had to figure out what to do with their kids. Teachers had to figure out how to teach students at home. Kids had to figure out how to navigate a totally new routine that was being created and altered in real time.

For many families, it was a big honking mess—one that many really don't want to repeat in the fall.

But at the same time, the U.S. hasn't gotten a handle on the coronavirus pandemic. As states have begun reopening—several of them too early, according to public health officials—COVID-19 cases have risen to the point where we now have more cases per day than we did during the height of the outbreak in the spring. And yet President Trump is making a huge push to get schools to reopen fully in the fall, even threatening to possibly remove funding if they don't.

It's worth pointing out that Denmark and Norway had 10 and 11 new cases yesterday. Sweden and Germany had around 300 each. The U.S. had 55,000. (And no, that's not because we're testing thousands of times more people than those countries are.)

The president of the country's largest teacher's union had something to say about Trump's push to reopen schools. Lily Eskelsen Garcia says that schools do need to reopen, but they need to be able to reopen safely—with measures that will help keep both students and teachers from spreading the virus and making the pandemic worse. (Trump has also criticized the CDCs "very tough & expensive guidelines" for reopening schools.)

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