Galvin water problems addressed

Jan 10, 2017 by

Published in the January 10, 2017 edition.

WAKEFIELD — School officials say that they are addressing a problem with water flow in some bathroom sinks in the Galvin Middle School that has led to concerns among parents that kids may not be able to wash their hands throughout the day.

The sinks have automatic faucets with sensors to detect the presence of a user and turn the water on. But in some of the sinks in the building, the faucets have not been working at all.

Students are reportedly able to use sinks in project rooms to wash their hands and hand sanitizer has been provided in bathrooms, but some parents are still concerned about the spread of germs if kids have limited ability to wash their hands in the bathroom.

In December of 2015, the Doyle Early Childhood Center had to be closed for a day out of concern over the contagious nature of an illness after students and staff became sick with a stomach virus. Some parents also recalled an outbreak of illness at the Woodville School last year.

School officials have been working to address the problems with the Galvin sinks.

“The DPW and School Department continue to work closely together to resolve the intermittent water shut off occurring in some student and community bathroom sinks,” School Superintendent Dr. Kim Smith said in a memorandum sent out to parents. “The problem seems to be specifically in the area where student boys’ bathrooms are located.”

“The new water expansion tank was installed over school vacation, which we believe is an important step in resolving the issue,” Smith added. “Parts are also being systematically replaced in bathroom sinks, with a goal to ensure at least one working sink in every bathroom until all of the work is completed.

“Although we are checking regularly, we ask students to report to their teachers if a sink stops working at any time during the day so we can take immediate action. Project rooms are equipped with hot water and soap and hand sanitizers are available as additional preventative measures.

“We hope to completely and permanently resolve this issue as soon as possible. It has proved to be a complex problem, but I wish to assure staff and families that we are relentlessly focused on its resolution,” Smith said.

In an unrelated matter, MassDEP water testing is scheduled to begin at the Greenwood School this month, according to Smith.

“All schools in the district will participate in this water testing program so that we can verify that all fixtures are compliant with MassDEP standards for lead and copper and to identify and eliminate or replace any fixture found not meeting standards,” Smith noted.

“We should expect some exceedances, as they are common in schools everywhere,” the Superintendent added. “We should be able to identify any issues that arise and replace fixtures as needed. As an assurance to the community, I continue to communicate MassDEP’s statement that ‘the public water supply in Massachusetts is among the best in the country, subject to the most stringent government standards in the world.’”

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