Extension Partners With LPS on Handwashing Videos

Handwashing demonstration using black light and Glitter Bug Potion (fake germs) to show germs on hands.
Handwashing demonstration using black light and Glitter Bug Potion (fake germs) to show germs on hands.

By Kristen Houska and Alyssa Havlovic, Extension Educators in Lancaster County

Nebraska Extension’s School Enrichment Nutrition Kit program (SEK) has been teaching nutrition and healthy living concepts for 20 years in partnership with Lincoln Public Schools (LPS). The SEK curriculum consists of five lessons with an additional optional lesson that helps LPS meet their health objectives for each grade level Kindergarten through 5th grade. In addition to partnering and providing LPS with the SEK curriculum, Extension presents programs to reinforce concepts being taught in the SEK. The classroom teacher is able to choose two programs from the list of handwashing, physical activity and food experience.

Due to COVID-19, the SEK program has shifted due to our Extension staff no longer being able to enter the classrooms. The SEK curriculum is still being provided to the LPS elementary schools and being taught by the classroom teachers, but materials are being dropped off at the office instead of by our staff in the classroom. The additional programs offered in conjunction with the SEK are being offered in a different way.

Handwashing has been shown to be an important preventative measure for COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Regular handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to others.” Because of this, the LPS health curriculum team asked Extension to focus on making a handwashing video they could share with all the teachers in the elementary schools based upon the handwashing program we normally present.

Our team focused on handwashing videos for grades K–2nd and 3rd–5th. We are currently working on videos for middle and high school audiences. The elementary-grade-specific videos focus on these topics:
• Why do we wash our hands?
• What are germs?
• When should we wash our hands?
• Best practices for handwashing.
• Additional handwashing resources.

The handwashing videos were sent out by LPS administrators during the first full week of school in August. To date, the video for K–2nd grades has been viewed by 332 classrooms and the video for 3rd–5th grades has been viewed by 206 classrooms. The handwashing videos have also been sent statewide and are being used by other Extension professionals and school districts to teach and reinforce the concepts of proper handwashing to youth. The videos can be found at https://food.unl.edu/sek.

LPS has continued to be a great partner throughout the COVID-19 time frame and we are pleased to be able to continue offering Extension’s research-based nutrition education to all elementary students in Lincoln.