It is that time of year again when children are returning to school either virtually or in-class. School looks different this year with temperature checks at door, Covid-19 screening apps, face masks, sanitizing stations and health and safety signage everywhere.
In this era of Covid-19, there is a real concern not only about health and safety but food safety as well.
It is important that your children are well-versed on one of the most important components of food safety which is proper handwashing. Schools are now equipped with sanitizer and there are signs everywhere reminding them and staff of the importance of proper handwashing and sanitizing.
Proper handwashing and sanitizing go a long way to help combat the transmission of bacteria and viruses that may be active on surfaces. With the very real concern about cross-contamination, it is important that students are washing and sanitizing after touching high touch areas (i.e. desks, doorknobs). It is also important that they do not place their hands in their mouths after touching these surfaces. Social distancing is also an important element and students must be reminded not to share lunches that belong to others and maintain the recommended 2m or 6 feet distancing when with individuals outside of their cohort.
Temperature control in lunches is important and lunches should be packed with ice packs as needed and kept in thermal holders when possible to maintain temperature control. It is important to keep potential hazardous foods out of the temperature Danger Zone (4℃ to 60℃). Students (especially young students) usually do not have access to a microwave on school premises therefore lunches should be packed in a manner that ensures it is safe to eat.
Masks on, sanitizers used frequently and proper handwashing. That trifecta will help to deter bacterial and viral transmission but we must not forget the importance these three items also play in maintaining food safety along with temperature control. This is a year unlike any other, let’s ensure students have a safe and healthy school year.