WA primary school kids are back from holidays and getting in the swing of classroom routine. Now is a great time to talk about continuing Crunch&Sip in a way that is safe and manageable for the school community.
This may include putting extra hygiene measures in place in your classroom, or helping parents navigate the changing school environment and what that means for shared facilities such as water fountains.
So take a moment to refresh yourself, and your families, on the key points for crunching and sipping in the most hygienic way, and keep up the great work in your classroom.
Crunch for one
Whilst Crunch&Sip is designed to be a classroom activity that everyone participates in, now is an important time to remind children that they are not to share the food they bring from home. Making sure that each child is only eating from their container will minimise any crossover of germs between class members. This way the familiar Crunch&Sip routine can safely continue at a time when other activities have had to be rescheduled, restructured or cancelled altogether. If you are providing Crunch&Sip for students, remember to provide them with their own container or plate.
We strongly discourage students from grazing on vegetables and fruit throughout the day. Not only can this promote unhealthy snacking habits, but many teachers report that it can be disruptive. It also makes it harder to ensure that students have clean hands. Teachers should have a set time each day for Crunch&Sip and build in the practice of hand washing before the break. This way you can ensure that clean little hands are reaching into containers and going into mouths, limiting the spread of germs. We like to call this Clean, Crunch&Sip!
Freshen up the bottle
As schools temporarily close or discourage the use of shared water fountains, it is important to remind parents to pack a refillable drink bottle so that kids can stay hydrated during the day. Water bottles don’t need to be fancy or expensive and only require a little upkeep.
Each day make sure you empty and refill your water bottle with fresh water. You can tip excess water on your garden, fill up the bird bath, or give your indoor plants a drink. Because tap water is treated with a little bit of chlorine, a quick wash each night with the dishes should keep water bottles free of any bacteria that might upset tummies.
Once a week refillable bottles need a more thorough clean in soapy water, paying special attention to the lid as this is where food particles and dirt can become trapped. A water bottle that doesn’t require any handling of the lid to take a sip is easier to keep clean and is the most hygienic option.
To disinfect water bottles, once washed, leave the bottle and lid to completely air dry. Leaving a water bottle upside down on the dish rack overnight is an easy way to achieve this. Bacteria like to live where there is moisture so drying out the bottle will help kill the bugs.
If you are still concerned, or a water bottle has developed a slight smell, then rinse with vinegar to remove any bacteria. Fill the bottle with 1 cup of vinegar and the rest water. Let it sit for a couple of hours, then rinse and wash as normal. In the summer months, you can also freeze a full water bottle overnight. This not only kills most bugs that might be living in the bottle, but it also provides refreshing chilled water with every sip.
If you would like this information in an easy to read factsheet, download our water bottle hygiene resource here.