Back to school time brings many worries for parents, but parents in low-income areas may have even more things on their mind. Low-income schools often suffer from poor sanitation techniques that may result in dangerous conditions for the children. Many of these children may not realize how unsanitary the requirements are and they may not know how to best protect themselves from them.
Some of the conditions that these kids may be facing include:
A shared drinking bucket – many classrooms don’t have drinking fountains. Instead, they drink from a shared drinking bucket. This drinking bucket is unsanitary because each student will repeatedly dip their cup into the water, spreading germs and bacteria from student to student very quickly.
One-bathroom block – many schools only have one-bathroom block. This results in students being unable to use the bathroom when they need to, and many students must resort to going outside or during class time to beat the crowds.
No menstrual products – in low-income areas, it’s widespread for girls to miss many school days each year because of their menstrual cycle. If they don’t have the proper hygiene products available to them at school, it becomes impossible to go without suffering embarrassment, distraction, and unsafe conditions.
No hand-washing facilities – many of these schools also have no handwashing facilities available for student use. That means that viruses, diseases, and other germs are quickly spread throughout the student body. Improper handwashing is one of the leading causes of student illness which leads to missed school days and an unfit learning environment.
What Can Be Done?
While getting additional funding in these schools may not be an easy task, there are other things that students and teachers can do to improve the sanitary conditions. Many schools have seen improvement by teaching students what proper sanitation looks like, and then getting them involved. Taking turns cleaning the bathroom block or restocking menstrual supplies are some easy ways that students can begin helping themselves and their peers. Teachers should receive hands-on sanitation classes to be able to pass these skills on to their students and prepare them with the tools they need to have a happy and healthy learning environment. Parents can benefit from learning these tips and teaching kids what is sanitary and what isn’t as well. Low-income areas may not always be able to get more money, but they can still learn to make the most of what they have!