The federal government recently passed regulations to promote clean drinking water at schools, but a new study found that many school district “deserve an ‘F’ for their performance.” A regulation passed this past year and must be implemented by July required “free drinking water at breakfast.” The new rule amended the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program “to establish nutrition standards for all food sold in schools,” including water.
The study found that a school’s ability to provide clean, drinking water is often limited by their infrastructure.
“Because water fountains have historically been the sole source of drinking water for students, some administrators believed fountains [could] come under scrutiny, a disheartening prospect in schools that struggle with aging plumbing infrastructure and cutbacks in custodial service,” said EdSource, an education policy group.
Jurisdiction over water issues is spread out over various agencies at various levels of government, from local to federal government. According to Water in Schools, a food policy advocacy project, “local action will be vital to ensuring that kids have easy access to water instead of sugary drinks at school. Given the budget problems facing all schools, it is likely that promoting access to water is not on the top of many lists.”
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