Hydration stations – Is just one good enough?

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Diego E. Barrera, Contributing Writer

The first thought that comes to mind when you take that last sip from a water bottle is to go to the nearest hydration station for a refill.  The problem at Schreiber is that the nearest hydration station is most likely not near at all.  Our school only has one operable hydration station, located in the main lobby, that hardly works.  The faucet releases water at a speed no faster than a steady trickle; this often creates a long line of students waiting to refill their water bottles or some even opting to refrain from drinking water throughout the remainder of the day.

“It seems that this year that there are more students who are using the hydration stations.  I see more refillable water bottles than I’ve ever seen before, and I also notice longer lines than I’ve seen in past years.  That would indicate that we should have more hydration stations,” said Schreiber’s Principal Dr. Ira Pernick.

He also said that this process would have some challenges.  Among them are deciding where to place them, how to power the electricity required, and if a water fountain should be replaced with a hydration station. 

“We do need more hydration stations.  This is something I support, but we’re going to need more funds to make this happen.  And we still need to find locations to place them.  But I’m confident that any time soon we will have more hydration stations available to use,” said Assistant Principal Mr. David Miller.  

Our administrators are not the only ones eager for this change; students have also voiced their frustration over having just one of these stations available at school.  There are many reasons for supporting the addition of hydration stations.  Some are upset by the long lines and the necessity of walking from one end of the school to the other.  Others think that due to the pandemic, students should have an even greater access to more hydration stations if water fountains are unavailable for use.  The bottom line is that one hydration station is simply not enough.

Being that a majority of students use water bottles in schools, a considerable number of students will need to refill their water bottles at least once during the school day.  And since there is only one pitifully slow hydration station in the entire school, students who need to refill their water bottles often find themselves weighing their needs for a drink with missing important class time.  This poses a larger problem than some may think.  

“We only have one hydration station and it operates super slowly.  It is important to me that those who come to Schreiber stay hydrated throughout the day,” said junior Kyle Sedgwick.

 Sedgwick further stated that adding more hydration stations would reduce the overcrowding that is common around the auditorium; this would help quicken the pace of movement in that major hallway when students are rushing to their next class.

“I think we should have more hydration stations because the lines are too long, and there are too many people in the school to just have one.  If you’re thirsty, you can go get water, but if you’re on the line, then you are missing class time.  However, if you decide to stay in class you will be thirsty,” said sophomore Jake Restivo.

Another issue that students face is that they must walk from one end of the school to the other to fill up their water bottles.  Depending on where students’ classes are located, those commutes can be short or long.

“I think it is good to add more hydration stations because I always drink the water I carry around, and I never know when I’ll run out or where I’ll be when it happens,” said freshman Gabriel Santos.

Schreiber students used to have greater access to water sources.  There was once a hydration station that was located in the basement, but it is currently inoperable.  Due to supply chain issues, Schreiber has not been able to obtain the filters to keep it up and running.  And although students were once able to use the water fountains located in each wing of the school, they have been shut down and sealed off to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  By barring water fountain usage, the hydration stations are more critical than ever, yet Schreiber currently has fewer operable ones this year than in years past.

Under the current circumstances, where there is only one working hydration station and water fountains are off-limits, many students are struggling to stay hydrated during the school day.  Although repairing and adding hydration stations will require time and funds, both students and staff will greatly benefit from this much-needed action.  Hopefully, we will see more hydration stations in service around the school soon.