With the swine flu virus floating around, schools are being more cautious than ever in protecting kids from germs. Whitney’s teacher faithfully scrubbed each table with Clorox wipes last year, especially during cold/flu season. There was hand sanitizer available to the girls at all times, and the bathroom sinks are in the hallways to make sure kids wash their hands after they go potty.
But…my girls were more sick last year than they have ever been. They each missed 14 days of school, which is really a crazy amount for them. I think we took one or two family days, so the rest of those days, they were just too sick to send to school.
I remember the first week of school last year, Whitney came down with bronchitis I got a call from the school nurse, and had to pick her up from school. The school nurse said that it was the first week of school and already half the school was sick. I told that to our family doctor later that day, and he asked me one question: Do they sit in their own desks, or are they at shared tables? I told him they sat at shared tables, and shared all their supplies from a basket in the middle of the table. His answer: Germ Fest.
He went on to say that he was on the health advisory board way back when our school was being built, and he strongly advised that the school not purchase shared tables, but individual desks for children. They ignored his advice, and went with the tables.
On top of taxes that we pay into our community, we pay between $100-$200 per child for supplies and textbooks. Our teachers now do all the school supply shopping for our children. At first I thought this was a wonderful idea. It saved me a ton of time, and my kids would have the same stuff as all the other kids. What I did not factor in, was that all those supplies would be placed in bins in the center of each table for all the kids to share. I’m all about sharing, but quickly realized that they were sharing every sneeze, germ, and booger that went from their classmates little hand, to their marker, to my kids’ hand when they shared that same marker.
I’m opting out of sharing this year. I still have to pay the supply fee, but I am purchasing all my kids’ supplies for them. I am telling them for the first time in their lives NOT to share. The true measure of this experiment will be in days of school they miss this year. I’ll get back with you about that sometime next May.