Hydration stations have arrived at the School District of Philadelphia.
The stations – water fountains equipped with filters and separate faucets from which to fill water bottles – will be up and running at 43 schools when classes start next month, school officials announced Monday.
Each school is receiving at least three hydration stations, and plans call for the remainder of the district's more than 170 schools to receive stations by the end of the school year, spokesman Kevin Geary said.
The $1 million initiative is part of the district's recently announced GreenFutures sustainability plan, which is designed to provide a framework to conserve resources, decrease consumption and waste and create green school settings and healthy indoor environments for students.
"Safe, accessible, and appealing drinking water" is a key part of the GreenFutures plan, said Dr. William R. Hite, district superintendent.
Monday's announcement comes after the School District announced Aug. 4 that it had launched a water quality retesting project designed to test for lead in drinking water outlets in a sampling of 40 schools.
The district's new hydration stations are in line with the federal government's views on water in schools.
The Institute of Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that plain drinking water be available throughout the school day at no cost to students, and if other beverages are available or sold during the school day, that they only include plain water with no flavoring, additives, or carbonation. Also recommended are fat-free or low-fat milk, and 100 percent fruit juice.