Parents say students did not have access to soap in restrooms for weeks

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. -- For the first time in weeks students at Dinwiddie County Middle School are able to properly wash their hands in their school restrooms.

This comes after a parent wrote the school concerned after learning that her child didn’t have access to soap in school bathrooms and that one restroom didn't have dispensers.

“As the flu became more widespread, we started talking about proper hand washing and how to be more germ conscious and that’s when I learned there was a bathroom issue at school and the kids didn’t have the proper tools needed to wash their hands like soap and paper towels,” said Dinwiddie Middle School parent Ashley Wells.

The Wells family is particularly cautious. They are expecting their fourth child in a matter of weeks and have endured years of cancer.

“For five years my husband was taking chemotherapy so we had to teach our children to be germ conscious and to wash their hands and take their shoes off at the door,” said Wells. “Now with the new baby coming we have to implement those same actions."

Ashley Wells

Wells says up until Thursday, her son hasn’t been able to properly wash up in restrooms at the middle school.

“He was shocked. He was a little disgusted,” said Wells. “I don’t know that there’s ever been soap or proper hand washing materials in the bathroom.”

Wells made a post on social media urging parents to ask their kids if there is soap in the restrooms at school.

 

Wells received an overwhelming response from other concerned parents.

“I emailed the principal and told him my concerns and he responded that afternoon and said those concerns I mentioned would be addressed,” said Wells.

CBS 6 reached out to Dinwiddie County Public Schools. They provided the following response.

"The restrooms are monitored hourly and cleaned dependent upon need. This incident was brought to the attention of the principal, who immediately contacted our contracted custodial personnel. Additionally, our maintenance department was contacted to repair damaged soap dispensers."

Since this incident, the principal has taken extra measures to ensure more frequent checks of the restrooms. As a precaution, the school has also purchased additional hand sanitizer stations that are available throughout the school for students and staff.

The following information below was shared with our staff across the entire school division and was posted to the district’s Facebook page:

In response to widespread influenza activity throughout the state and nation, Dinwiddie County Public Schools is providing guidelines and implementing additional precautions for outbreak prevention. The District is following recommendations provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), which include a three-step approach to fighting the flu.

According to the CDC, the first and most important step is to get a flu vaccination each year. Secondly, if you get the flu, the next step is to seek early treatment from medical professionals. Finally, the CDC recommends using the following everyday preventive actions to slow the spread of the flu:

1.    Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

2.    Stay away from people who are sick.

3.    Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then, throw the tissue in the trash after it has been used.

4.    Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth to prevent the spread of germs.

5.    Clean and disinfect hard surfaces or objects that might be contaminated with germs by wiping them down with a household disinfectant, according to directions on the product label.

Dinwiddie County Public Schools is working in collaboration with teachers, administrators, nurses, and custodial services to take extra precautions, which include wiping down surfaces daily with antibacterial solution, increasing access to hand sanitizer, sending all children who present symptoms to the clinic, and immediately notifying parents of any reported illnesses.

Wells is pleased with the quick response by her son’s middle school.

“I have seen that the school has reached out to us as a community to let us know they are working to address these problems and they are also creating a more sanitary space for our children,“ said Wells. “I just hope that they will keep the momentum up and they will continue to provide a sanitary work environment for our kids.”

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