Commentary

A school water fountain is seen in this undated photo from an unidentified school. Public schools in Washington, D.C., have been shut off as a way of preventing the spread of COVID -19, forcing schools to buy water in stores to provide hydration to their students.

A school water fountain is seen in this undated photo from an unidentified school. Public schools in Washington, D.C., have been shut off as a way of preventing the spread of COVID -19, forcing schools to buy water in stores to provide hydration to their students. (Dann Tardif / Getty Images)

 By C. Douglas Golden  October 9, 2021 at 12:28pm

Washington, D.C., was the second-most liberal city in the United States in 2014, according to Pew Research. I’d believe it — and I don’t think it’ll ever change. When I lived there, the only Republicans I met were ambitious or jaded transplants, all convinced they were going to strike it big in a company town that doesn’t make anything.

So, yes, it’s little surprise that the District of Columbia is irredeemably liberal. However, even I never considered the nanny-state urge there was so strong they’d strip students of drinking water because of COVID.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, employees in Washington, D.C.’s public schools have been forced to go to big-box stores in order to pick up clean drinking water for their students because of the city’s policy of shutting off water fountains to prevent COVID transmission.

The Free Beacon said the district had provided water jugs as an alternative — although some educators said those hadn’t lasted.

“We ran out of water [on Tuesday] and our admin drove twice to Costco to fill up their own car with water in the middle of the day so we could get through the end of the day and have some for [Wednesday] if a delivery didn’t occur,” said Bethany Rosera, a teacher at Stuart-Hobson Middle School.

She said her school had “communicated with [D.C. Public Schools] about the situation but the water was still not replaced.”

So, she took to Twitter on Tuesday.

“Y’all please don’t listen to anything [D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Lewis Ferebee] and [D.C. Public Schools] says about safety when our school does not have adequate access to CLEAN DRINKING WATER,” Rosera wrote in a thread.

“Instead, our school staff made midday runs to Costco because we were literally out of water.”

Some background: normal water fountains closed due to covid, that makes sense. Many schools got water bottle filler fountains, but our school was not eligible for those due to the structure of the building where fountains are located (bottle fillers won’t fit w/out moving walls)

— Bethany Rosera (@bethrosera) October 5, 2021

Instead, DCPS sent SH portable water coolers with 5 gallon jugs of water and cups for students to use. Aside from the logistical NIGHTMARE water coolers + cups + middle schoolers is, we’ve been making due and teaching kids how to be responsible with water use. Alls fine except..

— Bethany Rosera (@bethrosera) October 5, 2021

“Without water fountains and bottle fillers those coolers are the ONLY clean drinking water available for staff and students. We ran out and so far DCPS has provided no solution, so we have no clean drinking water. How is this okay?”

Without water fountains and bottle fillers those coolers are the ONLY clean drinking water available for staff and students. We ran out and so far DCPS has provided no solution, so we have no clean drinking water. How is this okay? How is this safe? Cc: @charlesallen @WTUTeacher

— Bethany Rosera (@bethrosera) October 5, 2021

There were reports schools in the District of Columbia had similar issues.

Same happened at our school. We’ve had no clean drinking water for 3 days. @dcpublicschools https://t.co/oBcyDtVcNA

— Ms. L Ponce (@ResourceTchr) October 6, 2021

I know this will shock you to the core, but D.C. Public Schools officials suddenly felt the need to replenish the water at Stuart-Hobson Middle School after Rosera’s Twitter thread. Who could have seen it coming?

Lunch time update because this morning was busy and traffic was rough: thanks all for your support and advocacy, a truck arrived this morning with more water and we are good for now! 🎉 pic.twitter.com/PYTR5uROxI

— Bethany Rosera (@bethrosera) October 6, 2021

I’m not saying there’s any truth to the fact that normal channels of communication don’t get results in the District of Columbia, but Twitter threads do. I’m just putting the thought out there. The same thought Rosera put out there, incidentally.

“They have a continued pattern: they’ll ignore issues/not provide what they need to … until the community learns about the problem and it sparks outrage with the parents,” she said.

“And then, only the ‘loudest’ problems get solved immediately. There are schools with problems that aren’t tweeted about that aren’t acknowledged at all.”

Neither the Washington Free Beacon nor the Washington Examiner was able to get a comment from either Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser or D.C. Public Schools. Also, neither entity has yet to feel the need to share information about water supply issues on their respective Twitter accounts, at least in the wake of Rosera’s post.

Now, I’ve concluded there’s one particular use case in which the fountains in Washington, D.C., would need to be shut off to prevent coronavirus spread: if the city has the same water-fountain problem that’s being suffered by Pawnee, Indiana:




The thing is that Washington, D.C., is a real city, whereas Pawnee, Indiana, is an invention for the erstwhile NBC sitcom “Parks and Rec.” The District of Columbia serves actual children, whereas the only kids Pawnee has to worry about are Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt’s triplets.

“Parks and Rec” is funny. Depriving children of hydration to the point where their teachers have to go to Costco to buy them bottled water isn’t. And nobody — nobody — in real life actually puts their lips completely over the mouth-guard of the water fountain.

Should these water fountains have been shut off?

Children are in far greater danger from dehydration than they are from contracting COVID-19 from a water fountain. Mayor Bowser’s hysteria is a recipe for dangerous health outcomes with potential long-term consequences — which, if I’m not mistaken, is what they’re pretending to avoid.

The key word there is “pretending.” These, alas, are the kinds of solutions you get when you live in the second-most liberal city in the United States.

C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he’s written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.

C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he’s written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).

Birthplace

Morristown, New Jersey

Education

Catholic University of America

Languages Spoken

English, Spanish

Topics of Expertise

American Politics, World Politics, Culture

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