LABELLE, Fla. — The Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) at Edward A. Upthegrove Elementary School recently purchased three touch-less water refill stations after the pandemic shut down their traditional drinking fountains.
Cece Estrada, PTO President told Fox 4 the school started noticing problems when some of their students could not bring in bottled water and teachers began purchasing cases of water for them.
"Teachers would send out messages asking for donations. I think even teachers would bring in bottled water for their classrooms," said Estrada.
She says the price for a single water bottle refill station can cost around $1,300.
In the past, PTO would host fundraisers to help with the purchase of different items, but due to the pandemic, those types of events were also shut down.
"Normally we have a hug bingo night and families come out its the biggest event of the year. Families come out and we play games and have prizes. But again with COVID, it really messed us up this year,” said Estrada.
Without the opportunity to raise funds, PTO had to use leftover funds from the previous year, limiting the amount of money they could spend.
Estrada said after months of searching, they were able to find an affordable price and purchase three refill stations.
The CDC recently announced that COVID-19 may only survive on surfaces for up to a few hours.
This is good news for schools, but an SWFL health expert says the refill stations also cancel out other harmful bacteria as well.
"Like Salmonella, Giardia, E.coli, these are the things that can create contamination. When it concerns COVID, it is possible that COVID-19 can be transmitted through surfaces,” said Dr. Gupta, Associate Professor & Program Director, Public Health.
Estrada says the new refill stations were such a hit, other schools in the Hendry County School District have already started asking how they can install stations of their own.