Improve table washing policies in WCPSS

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Wake County Public School policy requires the washing of cafeteria tables with water only, usually performed by the students themselves. At the peak of a dangerous flu season, concerned parents would like to see changes made urgently to this policy to better sanitize the surfaces between classes using the tables. 

As reported by local media and discussed by many Wake County parents, the water-wiping-only policy of cafeteria tables is concerning to families. And most aren't even aware that this is the situation at hand.

The current policy of WCPSS will only allow water wiping in cafeterias due to the rapid turn around of classes coming in and out for lunch. The tables are cleaned/sanitized when all students have completed breakfast or lunch for that day. It's explained that this is to protect the students from chemicals, especially those that may have a reaction. 

Recognizing with a such a large school district, there are many needs of thousands of students to consider. Those with contact dermatitis, asthma, food allergies and others must be accommodated along with those who would have no issue with the proper use of a cleaning agent by an adult.

We, as parents, are aware that germs are everywhere. And hand washing is the greatest way to prevent the spread of illness.

But without mandated hand washing before/after snack and lunch and the cleaning of surfaces with only water -- our children are put at even greater risk of contracting the flu (and other sickness) during what's already being predicted as a very dangerous flu season. 

We implore the leadership of the Wake County School System to look into alternatives for the proper cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing of eating surfaces in our schools immediately.

As parents, we want our voices heard.

We know that preschools and day cares are held to very high standards -- including in-classroom cleaning agents used safely among the children. We know that restaurants also have strict requirements for cleaning surfaces. And we know that the CDC has set forth very clear guidelines to help slow the spread of the flu in schools. We need to see WCPSS policies changed, especially during this particularly dangerous flu season, to do a better job of meeting recommended guidelines.

We can't prevent all sickness. And we can't avoid all germs. But we can and do expect our school system to do a better job of helping -- in any and all ways possible -- to keep our kids healthy. 

Perhaps: Take the paper towels and water spray away from the kids in the cafeteria and get a cleaning agent into the hands of adults. Research safer alternatives to harsh cleaners (such a hydrogen peroxide based cleaner), if necessary. Encourage teachers to use cleaners in the classroom at any and all times. Mandate hand washing. Request parents to send in certain cleaning products if that's what it takes. We want our kids safe. And we want to feel that our school system supports us in this effort.

We plan to spread the word to Wake County parents and present this petition to local media and County leadership. 


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