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NSF’s Scrub Club® Introduces Coughing Cora and Maskwell to Help Parents and Teachers Educate Kids on COVID-19 and Cold & Flu Safety

As COVID-19 continues and flu season approaches, NSF releases enhanced handwashing, mask use and hygiene tips for children.

Mother holding daughter, both wearing face masks

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — NSF International’s Scrub Club® — an interactive and first-of-its-kind, educational program that provides free handwashing resources for teachers, parents and caregivers of kids 3 to 8 years old — launched a new and enhanced website today. The site now features two new Scrub Club® characters -- Coughing Cora and Maskwell -- amidst ongoing safety measures related to COVID-19 and the upcoming flu season.  The site also houses sample lesson plans for kindergarten through third grade (K-3) on healthy behaviors, updated tips and teaching tools as classrooms continue to stay open.

“We know that kids are more likely to catch colds during fall and winter, and COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) disclosed that more than 277,000 children have been diagnosed with COVID-19 1. This means it is critical for educators and caregivers to teach proper hand hygiene practices to school-aged children to help reduce the risk of flu, COVID-19 and other viruses,” says Mindy Costello, Scrub Club® Manager at NSF International. “ScrubClub.org was designed with those on the front lines of education in mind and provides the tools and resources they need to help educate students and keep their classrooms safer.”

With 56 million children resuming some form of in-person schooling in the United States, NSF International refreshed the Scrub Club® website with a new look and user-friendly navigation. The site allows users to easily identify and download the resources they need, including new handwashing activities, videos and downloadable posters that showcase the CDC’s five steps to proper handwashing, all for free! The site also houses sample lesson plans for K-3 on healthy behaviors, tips and teaching tools for classroom and in-home use.

The website also features two new characters:

  • Coughing Cora, the germy villain who helps teach kids about the dangers of the coronavirus by showcasing the symptoms and bad behaviors to avoid.
  • Maskwell, a Scrub Club® hero who encourages and reminds kids that wearing a mask helps to protect themselves and others.

These CDC recommendations help slow the spread of respiratory illnesses and can be useful at home or in classrooms:

  • Wear masks with two or more layers to help stop the spread of COVID-19
  • Wear masks over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
  • Discard your mask, or wash masks made of cloth after every use
  • Make sure to scrub all areas of your hands, including your palms, backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails for 20 seconds to remove harmful germs and chemicals
  • Post signs in highly visible locations (such as  entrances and restrooms) to promote everyday protective measures and describe how to help stop the spread of germs (such as by properly washing hands and properly wearing a mask)

Informational materials are available to download for free to help parents, caregivers and teachers explain the importance of hand hygiene to kids. Videos and kid-friendly activities that encourage proper handwashing techniques can also be found on the website.

For media inquiries, contact media@nsf.org or call 734-214-6242.

NSF International’s Scrub Club®

Scrub Club® is an educational tool for teachers, caregivers and parents of 3 to 8 years old teaching the importance of hand hygiene and the five steps of handwashing. The website features a cast of handwashing heroes and germy villains in a variety of free digital resources ranging from animated music videos and lesson plans, to printable worksheets and posters. Exciting content has been added to provide helpful tips for cold and flu season as well as proper mask-wearing procedures.

Created in 2005 and reimagined in 2020, NSF’s Scrub Club® aligns to handwashing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is supported by the Partnership for Food Safety Education and the American Red Cross.

NSF International

NSF International (nsf.org) is an independent, global organization that facilitates standards development, and tests and certifies products for the food, water, health sciences and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment. Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide. With operations in 180 countries, NSF International is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center on Food Safety, Water Quality and Indoor Environment.

1 https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6939e2.htm