HSE's reminder to school children in the South East stay safe, wash your hands and stop the spread!

HSE Media Release: 2 September 2020

This week, Infection Control Nurse Lenora Fitzgerald visited classrooms at Glenbeg National School, near Dungarvan, Co. Waterford and spoke to children about the World Health Organisation’s message of the “Why, When and How” of Hand Hygiene. Hand hygiene involves washing hands with soap and water and application of hand sanitiser.

Conscious that such a message is being emphasised in every school around the South East, Lenora’s hand hygiene demonstration in Ms. Walker’s classroom for third and fourth class at Glenbeg is captured in a two-minute clip here.

Speaking about the purpose of her visit, Lenora said:

“Hands – including little ones! – have a crucial role in preventing the transmission of COVID-19. The Coronavirus primarily spreads through respiratory droplets and contact transmission – which means by touching infected people and/or contaminated objects or surfaces. Thus, your hands can spread the virus to other surfaces or to you, through your mouth, nose or eyes if you touch them with the virus on your hands.”

“Clean hands, literally, save lives. It helps curb the virus in the community and helps my colleagues in the HSE to deliver health care safely and effectively, without the enormous additional pressures that COVID-19 can place on the services.”

“The advice is simple. Use soap and water or hand sanitiser to clean your hands regularly. After using the toilet or when hands are visibly dirty, everyone should wash with soap and water. Wet your hands with water and apply soap. Rub your hands together palm to palm until the soap forms a lather. Rub the back of one hand with your palm and fingers spread so you wash between fingers. Repeat with the other hand. Interlock the top of your hands and rub your fingertips - this cleans your fingertips and knuckles. Then finally grasp your thumb and twist to make sure your thumbs are cleaned. Repeat with the other hand. This should take at least 20-30 seconds. Rinse your hands under running water. Dry your hands with a clean towel (at home) or paper towel. The exact same technique of rubbing hands is used with the hand sanitiser as with rubbing soap into your hands. When hands look clean, then you can use the hand sanitiser.”

Welcoming Lenora to the school was her sister, the Principal at Glenbeg NS, Catherine Fitzgerald.

Speaking about Lenora’s visit, Catherine said:

“We are very conscious of the outstanding support and co-operation from teaching and other staff colleagues, the board of management, parents and the children themselves in getting schools back up and running in what has been a difficult and challenging year for everyone. We were delighted to get to this point this week. We are one of two primary schools serving the rural parts of Dungarvan parish (or the Brickey Valley as it’s known locally) and it’s a great boost to the local community that we are back as a feature in their lives.”

“It was great to welcome in the Infection Control Nurse from HSE/South East Community Healthcare. Lenora had a most interested audience of children in each classroom she visited! As with Glenbeg here, throughout the hundreds of primary schools in counties Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford – and at home – teachers and parents are reminding thousands of children on the basics of hand washing. Maybe the little clip we recorded with Lenora here today will be of help in the important quest to keep everyone safe and stop the spread of COVID-19.”


Last updated on: 02 / 09 / 2020