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Hand-hygiene program shows promise in Cleveland Metropolitan School District

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This past winter, Browns Give Back partnered with GOJO, the makers of PURELL® Hand Sanitizer, PURELL® Healthy Soap and PURELL® Surface Spray products, in an ongoing fight to curb at-risk absenteeism within the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

The collaboration launched a hand hygiene education program in 9 of the district's K-8 STEAM schools, aimed at supporting CMSD’s ‘Get 2 School. You Can Make It!’attendance campaign by reducing absences due to illnesses.

They believe there’s evidence to suggest the two-month project did exactly that.

Eight out of nine participating classrooms saw improvements in attendance compared to previous school years and outpaced other district schools without the program, according to data gathered and provided by CMSD.

In February, the collaboration between GOJO, Browns Give Back and CMSD was showcased at Nathan Hale, where students in two fifth-grade classrooms took part in the project. Participating classrooms used 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 tracked attendance data as they worked toward eliminating barriers that prevent kids from getting to school.

“Our mission was to provide students with the safe and effective products and educate them on how they can reduce the spread of germs by properly washing hands, using hand sanitizer when soap is not available and disinfecting high touch surfaces like desks and cafeteria tables," said Mark Rundle, Education Market Director at GOJO Industries. "These students took ownership of the program, created their own strategies and even provided us with valuable insights on better ways to reduce the spread of germs."

CMSD’s ‘Get 2 School, You Can Make It!’ attendance campaign works to promote a school-going culture and remove the barriers of students missing school and targets students with at-risk attendance to ensure they don’t miss more than 10 days a school-year to keep students in school and succeeding.

The district's student data shows that students who miss 10 or more days a school year are significantly less likely to graduate and score much lower on state tests. Attendance remains an issue for school districts across the country — more than 6 million students nationwide miss 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 three years ago, nearly 22 percent fewer CMSD students are missing more than 10 days a school-year. This means over 4,100 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” 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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