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Browns, Cleveland Metropolitan School District partner with GOJO against at-risk absenteeism

The Browns have added a partner in their mission to help curb at-risk absenteeism within the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

GOJO, the makers of PURELL® Hand Sanitizer and PURELL® Surface Spray products, joined Browns Give Back and CMSD's 'Get 2 School' campaign, launching a hand hygiene education program in 10 of the district's K-8 STEAM schools in an effort to help reduce absences due to illnesses.   

"Hand hygiene and disinfecting surfaces are two of the most important measures we can take to reduce the spread of germs," said John DePace, Vice President, Market Insights and Development, GOJO. "With at least 144 million schools days lost each year in the United States due to illness, it is important for schools to have the right hand hygiene and surface disinfecting products. GOJO is happy to partner with the Cleveland Browns Foundation and Cleveland Metropolitan School District to provide not only these essential products, but also hand hygiene education to help keep kids healthy and in the classroom."

This collaboration was showcased last week at Nathan Hale, where students in two fifth-grade classrooms are taking part in the project. Participating classrooms will use PURELL® Hand Sanitizer, PURELL® Hand Sanitizing Wipes and PURELL® Surface Spray  to develop a protocol and use surface disinfectant to disinfect and clean their desks and use hand sanitizer throughout the day to help reduce the spread of illness-causing germs. CMSD will then track attendance data as they work toward eliminating barriers that prevent kids from getting to school.

"We received communication asking if we wanted to participate with the Browns and the PURELL® brand to create a campaign which students would get to school more often because sickness was ruled out so we jumped on the opportunity," said April Saxon, a fifth-grade teacher at Nathan Hale whose students are one of two of the school's classrooms immersed in the program.  

Saxon said the project, which runs January through March, has already made an impact on her students. "The students have really started taking ownership of sanitizing the room," she said. "I can't educate them if they're not here, that was the whole gist of it all. With Purell and the Browns' partnership, we're able to do that better."

CMSD's 'Get 2 School, You Can Make It!' attendance campaign works to remove the barriers of students missing school, and targets students with at-risk attendance to ensure they do not miss more than 10 days a school-year to keep students in school and achieving. The District is focusing on the 10 days threshold since their own student data shows that students who miss 10 or more days a year are significantly less likely to graduate and score much lower on state tests. Attendance is an issue school districts are facing across the country—with more than 6 million students nationwide missing at least 15 days of school, according to the Department of Education. Ohio defines chronic absenteeism at 18 days, or 10 percent of the school year.

Since Get 2 School's inception two years ago, nearly 17 percent fewer CMSD students are missing more than 10 days a school-year.This means over 3,200 students improved their attendance habits, which in turn significantly increases their chances to graduate and succeed academically.

Browns Give Back's partnership with GOJO is one of several collaborations aimed at supporting CMSD and the Greater Cleveland education community. Last year, the Browns worked with Shoes and Clothes for Kids to create a new program "Special Teams Packages" to that provide students facing extreme financial hardship with school uniforms, school supplies, casual clothes and other necessary items to get to school.

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