Ever got in that awkward situation where you’ve done your bathroom business and there’s no soap to clean up with? Or ever run out of toilet paper in the stalls so that there’s only two or three usable ones? How about broken handles on soap dispensers or water not lasting long enough to wash off the suds?
Well, you are not alone.
“One time,” says senior Kurt Larson, “two months back, I went in one morning and I found someone’s blue jacket shoved into a toilet soaking wet. I had to [ask] someone at the front office to take care of it.”
Okay, maybe not that extreme of a situation, but there is a problem with the bathrooms in both extremes and minor details. It is true, however, that the school’s janitorial staff size cannot get to all areas of the school and therefore some spots get missed. Plus, depending of the traffic of an area where it’s most used, supplies such as hand soap, toilet paper, and even seat covers can run out more quickly than others.
“The biggest thing is just communication and letting us know what bathroom… the product has run out [in],” said assistant principal Mark Porterfield. “A lot [of it] has to do with just how much use that bathroom gets used.”
It is true that some bathrooms such as the ones in the main blue hallway have more activity and therefore more run-outs, while others like say gym or athletic restrooms may have fewer people using them.
So why not swap to refillable soap containers? Seems practical. Seems like it would lead to less waste and might even save time and frustration.
Well, sorry, but that’s a big no-no. Even though they are easier to supply and buy, refillable soap containers is more susceptible to airborne germs than sealed soap. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four refillable soap dispensers contain bacteria known to cause infections and lead to Conjunctivitis (aka Pink Eye), joint infections, urinary tract infections, and even skin ulcers. Plus, the practice of “topping off” partially empty dispensers can lead to soap contamination, far worse than having one dispenser being completely composed of bacteria.
Closed soap dispensers are protected from all germs, hand contact and foreign objects. It also cuts back on cross contamination since the nozzle is hidden and out of reach, plus it is all replaced when a refill has to be made.
That’s one point for the health factor, but in the end it’s the unsanitary side that wins out since the floors and walls are seldom scrubbed for both genders of students and staff alike.
“They stink really bad, even in the morning” said student Ruby Munoz.
A staff member, who asked not to be named, gave a more graphic description on why the restrooms need to be better taken care of. “We have some issues with people who cannot spell,” she said. “They draw crude pictures and they have gang member signs. The worst part is [that] the walls are still dirty with hair spray and things from years ago.”
So in the end, it’s not just about soap or toilet paper, but the bigger picture of keeping the bathrooms sanitary and functional. My own advice if you are frustrated is to inform the office of specific issues and hope they get addressed.