Good Question: How will students stay hydrated in school?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — This edition of Good Question is about drinking fountains in schools.

A viewer named Carrie wanted to know: With kids going back to school, are the water fountains going to be blocked off so kids are not drinking from them after other kids? If so, how are the schools going to provide water throughout the day to the kids?

The guidance from the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office states:

Responsible Parties should consider closing water drinking fountains (unless they are configured as a bottle refilling station) and encourage students, faculty, and staff to bring their own water bottles or use disposable cups.

But here’s the thing — building code requires water fountains.

Other options are detailed in the New York State Education Department guidelines:

Districts or other applicable schools may wish to reduce number of drinking fountains available, in order to facilitate frequent cleaning. However, drinking fountains are a code required plumbing fixture. One fountain is required for each one hundred occupants. In the event drinking fountains need to be taken out of service, the following should be considered to provide potable drinking water to all occupants of the building:

  • Drinking fountains may be replaced with units with bottle fillers.
  • Supplying students with bottled drinking water or water in disposable cups at specified locations is an acceptable alternative source.

The district or other applicable school may provide student with personal containers to fill at home.

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