The problem with the turned off water fountains

Drinking fountains are closed due to the pandemic, but a whole school day is a long time to go without such a basic human necessity as water for students unfortunate enough to find themselves without a water bottle. Photo by Annabelle Bartz.

It is hard to remember everything that needs to get out the door with you in the morning. As long as the bare necessities are in the car, that morning counts as a win, but just because those few items made it doesn’t mean that everything necessary for a successful day is on its way to school. 

By government mandate, drinking fountains are closed due to Covid-19.  What happens when, in a rush out the door, the water bottle that was supposed to come is still on the counter? Not having access to the drinking fountain means there are two Covid-safe options: getting one out of the vending machines in the lower commons or getting one with lunch. Both options cost money; despite lunches being free, bottled water isn’t part of that deal. To get a basic human need costs $1.25, leaving students who don’t have that kind of money or those who just forget to bring it out of luck.     

Luckily, for every problem there is a solution, and this one is simple: disposable cups. Putting cups and/or a cup dispenser at every drinking fountain, or if there are concerns about that, giving cups to teachers or putting them in classrooms, would make it so that no student would have to go without access to water during the day. 

This might seem like a mundane problem, but with drinking fountains closed for at least six more weeks while the youngest students get vaccinated, 8 hours is a long time to go without any water.