For Cosmetology Level 1 students at Washington County Technical High School, familiar tools of the trade might be scissors, styling products and a comb. They traded those tools in for something out of the chemistry lab for a recent lesson in infection control and salon ecology.
Instructor Marie Bikle had her students take cultures of a variety of surfaces, including the students' work stations in their classroom, door knobs and their shoes. The petri dish germ farms were allowed to grow three to five days, then observed.
"It's basically to make us aware of germs all around us. There are more than we ever knew," said student Christina Thompson.
"It was a wake-up call," said student Heather Gue.
Since that lesson, students started using hand sanitizer after eating lunch, said student Toni Bernhisel. They are more aware of how they could be spreading germs and are consciously trying to reduce behaviors, like sharing water bottles.