If stomach bugs are keeping your kids home from school - and keeping you home to watch over them - there's something their grammar school can do to help: disinfect classroom surfaces and keep lots of hand-sanitizer on hand, literally.

A study in the current issue of the medical journal Pediatrics compared two groups with a total of 285 students in third to fifth grades.

Children in classrooms where alcohol-based sanitizer was readily available and disinfecting wipers were used to disinfect surfaces were significantly less likely to miss school for gastrointestinal illnesses than those that followed the usual hand washing and cleaning practices.

A cautionary note: The Clorox Co. of Oakland sponsored the study and provided the hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes.

The study's authors, who were from Harvard Medical School and Stanford University School of Medicine, concluded that schools "should consider adopting these practices to reduce days lost to common illnesses."

Contact staff writer Josh Goldstein at 215-854-4733 or jgoldstein@phillynews.com.