The Covid-19 pandemic has altered our sense of safety, to say the very least. And now that schools are reopening, parents have another concern to worry about in addition to the coronavirus––stagnant water fountain water. The longer water sits in pipes, the longer it deteriorates, and can leave your child susceptible to dangerous conditions.
Whether your children’s school plans to reopen in the next few weeks or in coming months, parents, teachers, and staff already have their hands full preparing for the continuity of education and safeguarding the health of students and adults in the buildings.
Here are a few water safety precautions to keep in mind when you send your children back to school.
Lead in the Water Supply
Lead in drinking water is already a huge issue for many Americans, particularly those living in poverty. It’s also one of the potential problems of stagnant water in schools. Results from one-time tests for lead contamination might not reveal the full scope of a lead risk because it can take up to three months of regular water use to effectively control lead in the water supply.
Lead contamination can lead to cognitive issues such as diminished IQ loss and behavioral problems. In 2018, a report showed that more than 40% of U.S. schools failed to test for lead in 2016. Other drinking water contaminants include disinfection byproducts, Legionella, and other microbes, which can cause lasting health issues.
Tap Water Quality
In order to maintain normal water quality, water needs to keep flowing––faucets turned on and off, toilets flushed, and water fountains used. When this doesn’t happen, the water in the school sits and builds up in the pipes overtime. In some instances, individual schools may have had some activity during the pandemic if they served meals or convened meetings, but it’s possible no water has flowed at all.
Every city has its own distinct water service map, and school water supplies are also distinct, so planning how to ensure quality drinking water will differ from building to building. If your child’s school is not yet reopening, there’s still time to upgrade the building’s water quality before students return.
Here are a few ways you can help make your child’s school a safe place to drink water:
- Ask school administrators what plans are in place for safe drinking water and/or water quality.
- Advocate for transparency and public sharing of all water test results.
- Provide information to the school and other parents about shutdown-related water quality issues.
If the school plans on opening later in the year:
- Seek information about water management protocols that your child’s school can use for future water quality tests.
- Learn how the school can restore and maintain safe drinking water for students.
- Develop a plan to inform families about all of the water tests for the school building.
In the meantime, if you want your child to drink healthy, quality water, send them to school with a pre-filled water bottle––enough to last them all day. If your child’s school has proven that their water is safe to drink, you can let your child refill their bottle during the day.
If, for any reason, you think that your child’s school water may be unsafe for consumption, make sure you remind your child to abstain from refilling their water bottle during the school day. If you’re looking for delicious, quality drinking water, contact Water Way! We provide water delivery that fits your busy school schedule, so you’ll never leave home without a refreshing bottle of water.