Poor hygiene practices and inadequate sanitary conditions play major roles in the increased burden of communicable diseases within developing countries. This study evaluated the KAP of hygiene among rural school children in Ethiopia and assessed the extent to which proper knowledge of hygiene was associated with personal hygiene characteristics. This cross-sectional study was comprised of 669 students who were interviewed by trained staff Participants were in grades 1-6 at Angolela Primary School, located in rural Ethiopia. Data consisted of hygiene and hand washing practices, knowledge about sanitation, personal hygiene characteristics, and presence of gastrointestinal parasitic infection. Results. Approximately 52% of students were classified as having adequate knowledge of proper hygiene. Most students reported hand washing before meals (99.0%), but only 36.2% reported using soap. Although 76.7% of students reported that washing hands after defecation was important, only 14.8% reported actually following this practice. Students with adequate knowledge of proper hygiene were more likely to have clean clothes (AOR 1.62, CI 1.14-2.29) and to have a lower risk of parasitic infection (AOR 0.78, CI 0.56-1.09) although statistical significance was not achieved for the latter Study findings underscore the need for more hand washing and hygiene education in schools; and provide objective evidence that may guide the development of comprehensive health and hygiene intervention programs in rural Ethiopian schools. Successful implementation of these programs is likely to substantially attenuate the transmissible disease burden borne by school children in rural settings.