School district fighting germs to keep kids healthy

BURIEN -- It is a team effort at the Highline School District to teach kids about the importance of proper hygiene and clean all surfaces that could be harmful to their health.

It's not just reading, writing and arithmetic at Shorewood Elementary School in Burien. The school nurse regularly gives kids lessons to keep them from getting sick.

Dorothy Phelps said, "Keeping the hands clean is absolutely key. It’s probably the most important thing. We can wash surfaces all day long but if the kid’s hands are dirty the germs are going to spread."

In early March, the highly contagious norovirus hit three schools in the Highline School District. Vomiting and diarrhea kept dozens of kids home and forced the district to use special cleaning techniques to keep kids safe.

With norovirus, the regular daily cleaning isn't enough. To stop the spread, crews use a bleach/water mixture recommended by the King County  Department of Health. They scrub down everything from light switches to handrails.

Nurse Phelps does what she can to keep germs from spreading. She teaches children the importance of hand washing by using a very visual lesson that teaches kids to thoroughly wash their hands.

Educating the kids is their goal but keeping kids safe is their responsibility.

Phelps said, "Keeping kids healthy and keeping them at school is definitely going to help with their education and help them pass their standardized tests and do well. So we want them here and we want them healthy."