(Natural News) Stringent COVID-19 policies have seen some Washington, D.C. school students going without clean drinking water. As part of a pandemic-related “health and safety measure,” the city has turned off the drinking fountains at its public schools. Unfortunately, they have not made sufficient backup plans to ensure that students and staff will not go thirsty.
A teacher at Stuart-Hobson Middle School, Bethany Rosera, told the Washington Free Beacon that although the school district had provided the school with water jugs, they ran out quickly and left students and teachers without any clean drinking water.
She said: “We ran out of water [on Tuesday] and our admin drove twice to Costco to fill up their own car with water in the middle of the day so we could get through the end of the day and have some for [Wednesday] if a delivery didn’t occur.”
After communications to the school district about the situation failed to yield water replenishments, she posted about the situation on Twitter. It wasn’t until her thread went viral that a delivery truck showed up at the school to replace the water the next morning. She believes that the attention that her post drew prompted the quicker response.
According to Rosera, even when the school did have alternative water in stock, using it was a “logistical nightmare.” She said that D.C. public schools’ poor responsiveness to students’ needs is part of an ongoing pattern of ignoring issues until the community learns about them and parents become outraged.
She added: “And then, only the ‘loudest’ problems get solved immediately. There are schools with problems that aren’t tweeted about that aren’t acknowledged at all.”
Meanwhile, other schools in the same district have reported similar problems. One teacher at Brightwood Education Campus said that her school went without clean drinking water for three days due to the extreme measure.
Washington, D.C. public schools are seeing some of the strictest COVID-19 protocols in the nation. Under Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser, they have instituted measures such as universal masking, weekly testing of 10 percent of their students, and physical distancing.
Two weeks ago, Bowser announced that the teachers and all other adults who work at public, charter, private and parochial schools there, as well as childcare facilities, must be vaccinated by November 1, while students older than 12 will also need to be vaccinated if they wish to take part in school-based extracurricular activities.
The mandate does not give people the option to test out of it and does not take into account the fact that some people have acquired natural immunity to the virus.
How risky are water fountains in the COVID-19 era?
Experts claim that the risk of contracting COVID-19 from a water fountain is fairly low, but it is not impossible. The dispensing buttons and the faucets are the main areas of concern, particularly given the fact that younger children sometimes place their mouth on the faucet itself. Other infectious diseases, such as the common cold and flu, can be easily transmitted through surfaces like water fountains, and having a cold or flu could make children more susceptible to COVID-19 infection.
Taking measures to protect children from illness is wise, but it is important to use a sensible approach. Letting kids go thirsty is a completely unreasonable reaction to the potential risk of sharing a water fountain. Perhaps Washington, D.C. schools could have taken the lead from districts like Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools in North Carolina, who had bottle-filling stations fitted to their water fountains. At the very least, they should ensure their students have enough drinking water and respond quickly when staff report outages rather than waiting until social media outrage reaches a level they can’t ignore.
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