Column: Panthers: wash your hands

Ryan Meyer

In one of my recent forays into my dormitory bathroom, I took particular notice of a group of signs that have been up on the walls all year that I had never considered given their somewhat obvious nature.

The most notable sign takes the most valuable real estate on the mirror. Its composition of various blues and that blocky, eye-pleasing EIU font is impossible to miss.

The sign features a reminder that Panthers should wash their hands in order to protect their fellow Panthers. Underneath the demands to “WASH YOUR HAND! FOR 20 SECONDS OR MORE!” is a 12-step program on how to wash both hands. I won’t delve into the entire sequence, but I’ve included my thoughts on some of the highlights.

Step 2: Apply soap. It seems obvious. But so often a harried Panther will quickly flick on the faucet, rinse their hands and exit the bathroom in a haste. Step 2 is arguably the most important step.

Step 6: Rub the back of fingers on the opposing palm. The graphic included with this one is infuriating. It is unclear what the hands are doing, and the up and down arrows don’t help matters. This step could easily be skipped while performing Step 5, which instructs Panthers to scrub between their fingers. The soap that leaks between the clasped hands can be used to wash the backs of fingers and Step 6 could be entirely avoided.

Step 12: Your hands are clean. It’s important to acknowledge this fact as you exit the bathroom a cleaner and more protected Panther.

In small font at the bottom of the flyer is an invitation to learn more at eiu.edu/covid. It’s here where the university has made their most critical error. It’s obviously important to wash one’s hands during a pandemic, but I believe these signs should stay up long after the pandemic becomes a distant memory. I seriously doubt that Panthers who aren’t washing their hands now would be washing their hands in pre- or post-COVID environments. They might just need the friendly reminder for the rest of their lives.

It’s important to consider opposing viewpoints, though. Maybe the signs are the very things causing Panthers to avoid sinks like a deadly virus. This rebellious, free-spirited generation sees an establishment telling them to do something, so they instantly decline to do so.

I think this theory holds a lot of significance and is worth considering when the university is addressing hand-washing problems in the future. Should the signs stay up forever, or are they the roadblock to universal Panther hygiene? Let me know what you think.

 

Ryan Meyer is a sophomore journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]