Inter-Lakes students to be given more time to wash their hands

MEREDITH — Elementary school students in the Inter-Lakes School District will be paying more attention to washing their hands before meals as a result of new administrative guidelines which will be developed after concerns expressed by a Sandwich resident at last night's school board meeting.
Andrea Marshall, a member of the Sandwich Health and Wellness Team, asked that the district's elementary schools in Meredith and Sandwich be allocated time and sink space and be instructed to leave their studies and wash their hands directly before meals.
Her original e-mail request to school administrators called for lengthening the school day by as much as 10 or 15 minutes in order to allow sufficient time for the students to wash their hands, a practice which she said is recommended by the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services and the Center for Disease Control.
''This is not a criticism of our schools, but, rather, a serious motion to upgrade hygienic practices in our district,'' wrote Marshall, who said that at the preschool level in Sandwich the practice is common.
She asked that the school district budget for added group sinks and allow a few extra minutes toward integrating the practice fully at both elementary schools.
Marshall said that if the schools did not implement a new policy that she would work to having a petitioned warrant article on the school district warrant to implement a hand washing policy.
Superintendent of Schools Mary Ellen Ormond said that she thought that issuing administrative guidelines would be a better way to move forward than through the adoption of a formal policy by the school board and her suggestion was well received by board members, who told Marshall that they agreed with her concerns.
Ormond said that she would send a copy of her proposed guidelines to Marshall before she circulated them to the schools.
Marshall said she would continue to monitor the schools to see that the goal of improved hygienic practice is being met. ''Those of us who have these concerns will have to look and see if what we would like to see happen is taking place.''
Marshall is an herbalist and wild forager who was among those making presentations in a program on botanical medicine which was presented at the Samuel Wentworth Library in Sandwich last July.