Glasgow schools go for hand washing world record

THOUSANDS of Scottish schoolchildren have taken part in a world record attempt in efforts to promote the importance of hand hygiene.

Primary 4 Pupils from St Paul's in Whiteinch laugh during their world record attempt. Picture: Robert Perry
Primary 4 Pupils from St Paul's in Whiteinch laugh during their world record attempt. Picture: Robert Perry

Around 5,400 pupils from 62 schools across Glasgow took part in a simultaneous hand hygiene lesson in an attempt to smash the previous record held by the Health Protection Agency in England, which featured 2,147 pupils from 21 schools.

The event, organised by Glasgow City of Science, Glasgow Caledonian University, NHS Scotland, Health Protection Scotland and Glasgow Science Centre, came after an appeal for knitting and crochet enthusiasts to help create hundreds of woolly bugs to symbolise infections such as flu and salmonella for use in the lessons.

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The simultaneous lessons were led by 180 student nurses from Glasgow Caledonian University, who volunteered to work with teachers from each of the participating schools to deliver the 40-minute lesson.

Professor Tracey Howe, deputy chairman of Glasgow City of Science, said: “I am absolutely thrilled with the response to our world record attempt.

“However, the most gratifying aspect is that so many children across the city now have a better understanding of the importance of good hand hygiene.”

Professor Jacqui Reilly, lead consultant at Health Protection Scotland, added: “Hand hygiene is the best way to avoid colds, flu and other viruses and is the first line of defence against the spread of many infections, which can disrupt school attendance.

“This lesson is a fun and memorable way to teach an approach which will stay with children as they grow up. Scientific evidence shows that implementing hygiene measures such as these reduces risk of illness and can protect health for life.”

In order for the world record hand hygiene lesson attempt to succeed, organisers had to provide two independent witnesses at each participating school, two time keepers, and one steward per 50 participants.

Pupils were also tasked with filming the lesson from start to finish at each school in order to verify the attempt. It will take up to six weeks to verify whether a record has been set.