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Diving Into the School Year: How’s the Water?

 

As a new school year begins, ask:

 

  • Is there free, potable (safe) drinking water throughout the school?

  • Are drinking fountains clean and working?

  • Is water available where school meals and snacks are served?

  • Are there policies that support drinking water?

 

If your answer to any of these questions is “no,” then it's time to TAKE ACTION!

 

Why Water?

 

  • Students often come to school thirsty —
    more than half of school age children are under-hydrated.  

 

  • Children, teens and adults consume too many sugary drinks. The calories and
    added sugars in these beverages can fuel diabetes, obesity and tooth decay.
     

  • Water helps cognition and attention span in children and adults, as well as physical and oral health. 

Click to learn more about the importance of water for health.

 

  • America's Child Nutrition Act requires that potable water be made available
    at no charge in places where meals are served at schools participating
    in the National School Lunch Program.

 

 

What Can You Do About It?

 

This year, make the availability of safe and free drinking water a priority at your school. 

 

Here are a few steps you can take at school and with school district leaders.

 

Take action at school:

 

  1. Check. Are there working fountains around the campus?
    Is water available where students eat?
     

  2. Ask. What steps are administrators and staff taking to make sure 
    students have free and safe water to drink during meals and snacks?
     

  3. Promote. Students make great advocates; posters, art and other media
    can encourage students and adults to drink water.


Click to learn more about school water access and promotion.

 

 

Take action with school district leaders:
 

  1. Check. Does your Local School Wellness Policy (LSWP) address free and safe drinking water?

    Schools participating in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs are required to have an LSWP in place, and the requirements were recently updated. 
    Make sure your LSWP includes language to build effective access to free and safe drinking water for students and staff.                                                                                        

  2. Include. If your LSWP doesn't address water availability, propose model language 
    to the person(s) in charge. 

 

Model language to incorporate in a LSWP:

  • "Free, safe, unflavored drinking water will be available to all students throughout the school day and throughout every school campus." Read more from Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

 

  • "The school district will encourage all school administrators, teachers  and building staff to be role models by drinking water around students."
    Read more from Parents Making Waves.

 

 

It’s not expensive to make free and safe drinking water available to all students. Visit Parents Making Waves for useful information about the costs of different drinking water improvements. Or, explore this website for more information on what you can do.

 

 

 

 

Contact: DWAlliance@ucanr.edu
Coordinated by Nutrition Policy Institute, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources

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@2019 National Drinking Water Alliance