Handwashing Awareness Honor Given by American Cleaning Institute, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Washington, D.C. – Family and Consumer Science students at Minnesota’s Fulda High School, aiming to educate other students about the importance of handwashing, decided they needed to “Clean Up Germ City.”

Their classroom project ended up receiving the 2015 “Healthy Schools, Healthy People, It’s a SNAP” National Award.  SNAP – the School Network for Absenteeism Prevention – is a joint initiative of the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

Two of the Fulda students, Eli Gonzalez and Tyler Ackerman, and their teacher Marcine Elder, visited Washington, D.C. as part of an all-expenses paid trip to receive their honor at ACI’s Mid-Year Meeting. While in DC, they received a congratulatory greeting from CDC’s Julia Smith-Easley and visited members of the Minnesota congressional delegation, including Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar.

In addition, Fulda High School received $5,000 from several supporting ACI member companies: Arylessence, Inc., Colgate-Palmolive Company, Ecolab, Inc., GOJO Industries, Inc. and Henkel Consumer Goods Inc.

Handwashing the Right Way

The students were initially studying child development, but also wanted to do a service-learning project. They ended up creating a lesson plan for each grade to teach the correct handwashing steps and inform their community about how not to get sick, using social media and generating publicity through the school website, local newspaper, and local cable TV station.

Their effort – dubbed “Clean Up Germ City” – relied on existing educational resources that led to teaching elementary students when they should wash their hands and how to use hand sanitizers. The Fulda High School ninth and tenth graders also helped inform the local community about the way germs spread and how not to get sick.

“These students from Fulda are ambassadors for good health and are teaching others about the importance of good hand hygiene,” said Nancy Bock, ACI Senior Vice President of Education. “What was spread here wasn’t germs but important information on washing with soap and water to enhance school health and reduce school absenteeism.” 

For 13 years, the Healthy Schools, Healthy People program has sought to improve hand hygiene habits to help prevent the spread of infectious disease and reduce related absenteeism. This grassroots, education-based effort can help improve health by making hand cleaning an integral part of the school day.

For information on how your school can participate in the program, visit www.itsasnap.org.


The American Cleaning Institute® (ACI) is the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry® and represents the $30 billion U.S. cleaning products market.  ACI  members include the formulators of soaps, detergents, and general cleaning products used in household, commercial, industrial and institutional settings; companies that supply ingredients and finished packaging for these products; and oleochemical producers.  ACI (www.cleaninginstitute.org) and its members are dedicated to improving health and the quality of life through sustainable cleaning products and practices.