Most High Schoolers Concerned About Coronavirus, Returning To Class

Nearly half of high school students surveyed are worried there won't be enough time to wash their hands at school.

More than half (58%) of high school students are nervous about returning to school in person due to COVID-19, according to a recent survey by Bradley Corporation. Around the country, the level of concern is highest among students who live in the Northeast, while those in the Midwest are the least concerned.

The survey also found that hand hygiene is top of mind for 48% of high schoolers who say they’re worried they won’t have enough time to wash their hands during the school day. In fact, 55% are now washing their hands six or more times a day compared to just 25% who were washing that frequently prior to the outbreak. The majority of students (73%) predict they’re likely to maintain their current hand washing habits after the Coronavirus outbreak has passed.high school students

The findings come from the Healthy Handwashing Survey™ conducted by Bradley Corporation. The online survey of 1,050 high school students ages 14 to 18 was executed August 20-21.

Hand Washing Smarts

Right now, students’ hand washing IQ is high: 94% believe it is important to wash their hands to protect themselves from the Coronavirus and 76% correctly believe washing their hands with soap and water is more effective at removing germs than using hand sanitizer.

In addition to washing their hands, students are taking other actions to stay safe: 67% are wearing a face mask, 57% are staying at home more than usual, and 40% are practicing social distancing in response to the virus.

Overall, the survey found that female students are more concerned about germs than their male counterparts and are stepping up their safety precautions. A higher percentage of females are washing their hands more frequently throughout the day; washing their hands after touching something from outside their home; washing their hands after returning from a trip outside their home; and wearing a face mask.

Coming Clean On Germs

In a sign of the times, nearly four-out-of-five high schoolers say they’ve become more germ conscious. Within the school building, the top three places they are most concerned about coming into contact with germs are school restrooms (63%), classrooms (50%), and the cafeteria (42%).

When it comes to their school restrooms, students barely give them a passing grade: 50% rate their facilities as poor or fair while only 6% describe them as excellent. Students’ top wish list items are cleaner restrooms that are stocked more frequently with soap, paper towels and toilet paper, and restrooms where everything is touchless. In fact, 76% believe it’s extremely or very important that school restrooms have touchless fixtures.

“As the school year gets underway, it’s positive to learn that students have embraced a higher standard of hand hygiene,” says Jon Dommisse, director of strategy and corporate development for Bradley Corp. “Schools can support students’ elevated handwashing by providing adequate handwashing breaks, clean and well-stocked restrooms, and employing touchless handwashing features in washrooms.”

Bradley Corporation has been conducting its Healthy Handwashing Survey for more than a decade. This August, in response to the Coronavirus, the company executed a back-to-school survey with 1,050 high school students. The student version of the Healthy Handwashing Survey was balanced to the U.S. Census on the basis of gender (51% female, 47% male and 2% other) and U.S. region (Northeast, South, Midwest, West).

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