A handshaking policy introduced by a new principal has led to panic among staff and parents.
Some teachers at Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys, southeast of London, are now arming themselves with hand sanitiser amid fears that shaking hands up to 150 times a day may cause them to pick up germs.
Principal Amanda Simpson is standing by her decision, which sees teachers shaking hands with every member of their class before each lesson.
One parent told local news website Kent Live that she was worried about the consequences of the mandatory handshaking.
“It will be interesting to see what happens if there’s an outbreak of Norovirus,” she said.
“I assume it was introduced because the new head wanted to introduce some element of respect – but I wouldn’t think that sort of thing would make any difference.”
Ms Simpson believes that starting every lesson “with a handshake and a smile” makes children feel welcome and appreciated.
“We have had no negative reaction from pupils and they seem to appreciate the gesture,” she told Kent Live.
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“I introduced this in my previous school without any complaint and without any increase in the rate of infection, so I believe the concerns are unwarranted.”
She confirmed that hand sanitiser was available throughout the school for anyone worried about the spread of germs.