The prime minister has promised funding of £1bn for school building projects across England. This money is being used primarily for rebuilding school buildings in disrepair. This is good news, however the question remains on whether this budget will also cover the demands of providing a safe environment for pupils and teachers in a world post COVID-19.
Safe distancing and stricter hygiene are very real concerns as schools aim to go back in September. Providing pupils with a ready supply of clean drinking water is still paramount. So how do schools ensure the drinking water they provide for pupils is safe?
Single-use plastic bottles
Yes, single-use plastic. The debate around plastic seems to have taken a backseat in the wake of coronavirus, and indeed some people believe drinking from single-use bottles is the safest way to consume water. The challenge for schools is also the cost of providing expensive single bottles for pupils. And the damage to the environment is well known. However, this may be a short-term option for many schools looking for solutions to hydrating students safely.
Contactless hydration products
The demand for contactless, touch-free drinking fountains, bottle fillers, and water dispensers has increased rapidly since the pandemic. Solutions include sensor-operated bottle filling stations, touch-free water dispensers (you wave your finger near the button rather than press it), and foot-operated pedals for dispensing.
Many of these solutions include UV filtration, which further protects pupils as the UV light kills any viruses in the water.
These machines can be installed as new machines, or as upgrades to existing infrastructure.
As the government pledge funding for schools we hope that some of this budget can be used to support the provision of clean, safe drinking water for all pupils and staff. We support options that consider the environment (we say no to small single-us plastic bottles), and ensure healthy hydration for everyone.