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Germ Control - help! (Read 2987 times)

Offline happyaccidental

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Germ Control - help!
« on: October 24, 2014, 12:43:50 PM »
Hello.

A few months back, I began teaching at a local music schoola small community music center that offers lessons to mostly children, mostly beginners to intermediate level, on multiple instruments. I'm teaching three times per week there, with a total of almost 20 students.

This is my first excursion into this type of setting (I've taught mostly college music theory). I really like this new adventure of teaching young students. I teach mostly children 5-12 years old, and I'm 50. The ventilation in the studios is pretty poor. I have a small fan, which has been on the floor, just to move the air around a bit. Some teachers keep their doors cracked while teaching, but this doesn't really work for louder instruments.

While I love this work, I cannot afford to get sick repeatedly. Little kids are a festival of germs, and I've noticed that many keep their hands pretty busy in their mouths, sneeze/cough without covering their mouths, etc. I am considering keeping the fan behind me, blowing such that any residual from sneezes/coughs might be forced in the other direction. Still....

My students take half-hour lessons. Between each student, I take notes and speak with parents, and there's very little time to disinfect the piano unless I have a break.

Does anybody have any really good suggestions for germ control in such a space?

Thanks!

Offline iansinclair

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Re: Germ Control - help!
«Reply #1 on: October 24, 2014, 02:02:26 PM »
Welcome to the wonderful world of elementary school teaching.  My wife was an elementary school art teacher for many many years... and as you say these places are ideally set up for transmitting any and all known air and surface borne nuisances -- most of which are no worse than that, but they are that.

The fan isn't a bad idea -- but an air cleaner would be a better one.  Even very good room air filters aren't all that expensive.  It will help, though it won't end the airborne problem.

As for disinfecting the piano -- difficult.  Much more important is for you to be very conscientious, yourself, in keeping your own hands clean.  There are several different kinds of disinfecting wipes available (in Europe, Australia, and North America, anyway -- you don't say where you are) which  work pretty well even if you can't wash your hands, and you can take one and run it over the keyboard at the same time.  The best and simplest are just alcohol based -- the fancy ones which are alleged to have various other compounds in them to "kill 99% of the bacteria" usually don't work all that well, and most of what you are after are viruses anyway, which they don't work on at all.

And keep your own basic health up -- good nutrition, some time outdoors if possible, good weight, just generally good health!

Ian

Offline happyaccidental

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Re: Germ Control - help!
«Reply #2 on: October 24, 2014, 02:19:07 PM »
Thank you, iansinclair. I'm in the U.S.

Could I bug you to post a link to the type of air filter that you're suggesting? I might consider it, though the room isn't mine all the time.

Also, might you suggest a specific brand of disinfecting wipe for my hands and the keys? I do use these occasionally (the school carries them).

I do keep my health up in the ways you mentioned. I'm typically skeptic, but am wondering if any of the commercially available immunity boosters are worth anything.

Offline quantum

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Re: Germ Control - help!
«Reply #3 on: October 24, 2014, 05:04:28 PM »
You can work proper sneeze/cough etiquette into the lesson.  Just make it seem like it is a normal part of learning to play the piano: to be cognizant of all others that use the instrument.  Sort of like proper posture at the instrument, there is also a proper procedure when one has to sneeze.  Cough into ones arm - get a sticker.  Don't touch one's face with hands - get a sticker.

I've seen Lysol wipes used on the keys.  
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline Bob

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Re: Germ Control - help!
«Reply #4 on: October 24, 2014, 11:16:49 PM »
HEPA air filter.

You're going to be around germs.  Get a flu shot (and hepatitis and everything else... TB, too...)

Just make disinfecting the piano part of the lessons.  A quick wipe down on the keys after each student isn't going to insult people too much.  Who's going to argue against that if you say how many people have touched the keyboard that day?


Another nice trick -- Sit upwind from the student.  If there's a fan that's quiet enough, have it blow from behind you toward the student.  That way their germs move away from you.  Or maybe the room in the air would just move in that direction anyway.  Also helps for a student who has bad breath or BO.


Ugh... I remember one kid who spat on his hands and rubbed them together before touching the keys.  He was getting ready to work, oh yeah... spit on those hands....  ::)


I suppose having Kleenex out, hand sanitizer... That stuff wouldn't hurt either.  They could voluntarily disinfect themselves a little that way.


Ziacam is supposed to actually work too.  The melt drop kind.  They coat your mouth with zinc I think so the germs physically can't get in as much.  I heard something about that years ago.  Might not be work all the time, but it's something.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline Bob

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Re: Germ Control - help!
«Reply #5 on: October 24, 2014, 11:19:28 PM »
Can't modify my post...


Just tell them the air feels stuffy in that room, so you put a fan in to circulate the air.

Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline j_menz

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Re: Germ Control - help!
«Reply #6 on: October 24, 2014, 11:48:52 PM »


Guaranteed to keep you safe.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline quantum

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Re: Germ Control - help!
«Reply #7 on: October 25, 2014, 12:03:31 AM »
Has anyone tried those bladeless fans?  Bladed fans do affect the way you hear sound.
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline cwjalex

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Re: Germ Control - help!
«Reply #8 on: October 25, 2014, 12:50:14 AM »

Offline Bob

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Re: Germ Control - help!
«Reply #9 on: October 25, 2014, 01:54:20 AM »
Dyson fans.  They're uber expensive.   I found a cheap fan that barely works, but it spins the blade just fast enough to produce a little breeze.  Absolutely silent.


These have a unique look.  No germs getting in there.

Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline happyaccidental

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Re: Germ Control - help!
«Reply #10 on: October 25, 2014, 09:21:18 AM »
You can work proper sneeze/cough etiquette into the lesson.  Just make it seem like it is a normal part of learning to play the piano: to be cognizant of all others that use the instrument.  Sort of like proper posture at the instrument, there is also a proper procedure when one has to sneeze.  Cough into ones arm - get a sticker.  Don't touch one's face with hands - get a sticker.

I've seen Lysol wipes used on the keys.  

Good point - thanks!

Offline happyaccidental

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Re: Germ Control - help!
«Reply #11 on: October 25, 2014, 09:24:00 AM »
HEPA air filter.

You're going to be around germs.  Get a flu shot (and hepatitis and everything else... TB, too...)

Just make disinfecting the piano part of the lessons.  A quick wipe down on the keys after each student isn't going to insult people too much.  Who's going to argue against that if you say how many people have touched the keyboard that day?


Another nice trick -- Sit upwind from the student.  If there's a fan that's quiet enough, have it blow from behind you toward the student.  That way their germs move away from you.  Or maybe the room in the air would just move in that direction anyway.  Also helps for a student who has bad breath or BO.


Ugh... I remember one kid who spat on his hands and rubbed them together before touching the keys.  He was getting ready to work, oh yeah... spit on those hands....  ::)


I suppose having Kleenex out, hand sanitizer... That stuff wouldn't hurt either.  They could voluntarily disinfect themselves a little that way.


Ziacam is supposed to actually work too.  The melt drop kind.  They coat your mouth with zinc I think so the germs physically can't get in as much.  I heard something about that years ago.  Might not be work all the time, but it's something.

Bob, thanks. I have my flu shot - hooray! I'm going to by some Lysol wipes and Kleenex and I already have disinfectant gel. I have a fan but there's nowhere to put it behind me because of the setup of the room, so I may be rearranging some furniture today. I used to do this my small office when met with students as a teaching fellow - blow the air toward them and away from me.

I imagine the Ziacam is the the same as zinc lozenges? I have those, too. Thanks again!

Offline Bob

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Re: Germ Control - help!
«Reply #12 on: October 25, 2014, 11:55:21 AM »
Yeah, these guys...
http://www.zicam.com/our-products/cold-shortening/rapid-melts-citrus.php

Kind of expensive though and if they work, you stay the same/nothing happens.


Chicken soup, vitamin C... all that.


I can think of a few teacher who have Lysol wipes on the piano...  There's some tact involved in wiping the keys down though.  I'd present it that your wiping the keys down *for* the student or just as a general policy *for* the student.  Maybe wait until the previous student leaves and then wipe the keys down in front of the next student before their lesson.

I had a prof do that after a lesson.  Told me what he was doing, but it was like he thought I was diseased then.  "I need to wipe down the keys so I don't get sick from you."  If it was the beginning of the lesson and he wiped the keys down and said he was doing that so I didn't get sick... It's a different way of presenting it.


And then if it's heavy flu season, I could see encouraging or even requiring anyone who touches the piano to use hand sanitizer beforehand. 
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."