The allowing of hand sanitizer in Kennewick School District schools

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Kennewick School District currently does not allow teachers and students to use hand sanitizer in schools.

With the current coronavirus outbreak and flu season, it is critical to allow our students, teachers, and staff to use hand sanitizer.

While the district states that handwashing facilities are available in every school, it is not in every classroom and some portables do not have running water and are located outside of main school buildings.

KSD states that they do “not allow hand sanitizer in schools. If a student arrives with hand sanitizer from home, they will be asked to store it in their backpack, take it home and not share it with other students.”

The CDC currently states that to avoid the current coronavirus outbreak: “(i)f soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.”

KSD states that “(h)and washing stations with running water and soap are available in all schools.”  This is true but hand washing facilities are not available to students for every instance the CDC recommends hands be washed.

KSD states that they follow “the Washington State L&I requirement about hazardous chemicals in the workplace regarding following instructions on the manufacturer's label. Hand sanitizers with alcohol contain the statement "Keep out of the reach of children." The district also refers to Safety Data Sheets that specify that hand sanitizers, such as Purell, contain "flammable liquid" and can cause "serious eye irritation."

KSD does not need the SDS for hand sanitizer.  Under WAC 296-901-14004, Safety data sheets are not required for “(a)ny consumer product or hazardous substance, as those terms are defined in the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2051 et seq.) and Federal Hazardous Substances Act (15 U.S.C. 1261 et seq.) respectively, where the employer can show that it is used in the workplace for the purpose intended by the chemical manufacturer or importer of the product, and the use results in a duration and frequency of exposure which is not greater than the range of exposures that could reasonably be experienced by consumers when used for the purpose intended.”

While most hand sanitizers do say “keep out of reach of children.”  Hand sanitizer could be controlled by adults if KSD wants to remain conservative on the issue.

KSD also states that “The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has provided schools with specific guidance on both hand washing and hand sanitizer usage and that it is never appropriate to use hand sanitizer after playing outside, before eating or after using the bathroom. OSPI specifies that frequent hand washing is the most important technique for preventing the transmission of disease.”

This is a slap in the face to employees of KSD and students that they can’t follow simple rules to keep themselves safe.

Further, it can’t be feasible to have every student wash their hands for 20 seconds before eating and when recommended by the CDC.

Hand sanitizer is allowed in Richland and Pasco schools.  Whatever risk KSD is trying to mitigate with not allowing hand sanitizer in schools has been flipped on its head due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Please sign this petition to help KSD understand that their rule against hand sanitizer needs to change for the health and safety of our students, staff, and community at large.