THS bathrooms: No hot water

By Thomas Garcia Quay County Sun

Tucumcari school officials are dealing with another plumbing problem. Tucumcari High School restrooms are without hot water.

On Monday at the regular meeting of the school board, Drake Swenson of Tucumcari expressed his concern about the lack of hot water for proper hygiene, hand washing, at the Tucumcari High School.

“We were contacted by the health department,” said Dennis Roch, assistant superintendent for Tucumcari Schools. “Their greatest concern was for the students at greater risk in shower and changing areas.”

At Monday’s meeting school officials said work had begun on repairing and replacing commercial hot water heaters at the Rhodes Field House where physical education classes are held, Roch said. By Tuesday, the staff was able to get some of the units working again.

Replacement units were ordered and should arrive for installation by Dec. 7, Roch said. In the meantime, students have warm water.

“The problem is being addressed by the Tucumcari School officials and steps are being taken to ensure the safety of the students,” Roch said. “There is hot water at the high school in the event of an emergency.”

The construction of phase one of the high school will begin in June, according to Roch. With the construction of a new building the problems at the high school should no longer be an issue, he said.

Handing Washing Tips

To help combat the spread of germs, people are encouraged to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and hot or warm water.
Microscopic critters are living in your bathroom right now, according to the housekeeping.com Web site. Germs such as staphylococcus, streptococcus, E. coli and shigella bacteria are found in bathrooms and they have the potential to make someone sick, according to housekeeping.com.

Hand-washing is a simple and effective way to help prevent diseases, such as colds, flu, and food poisoning, according to the WebMD.com Web site.

During cold and flu (influenza) season, washing your hands can reduce your risk of catching or spreading a cold or the flu.
Also after going to the bathroom or changing diapers wash your hands to reduce your risk of catching or spreading infectious diseases such as salmonella or hepatitis A, according to housekeeping.com.

But what happens when there is no hot or warm water for people to wash their hands?

A popular alternative is hand sanitizers. These waterless products, including many that are alcohol-based, have been found to be a substitute for traditional hand washing over a sink.

For a hand sanitizer to be truly effective it must have an alcohol content of 60 percent or higher, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. Using sanitizer gels is an effective way to disinfect your hands after using a public restroom, or other areas commonly used by the public, and can effectively kill the germs on the hands unless the hands are visibly soiled, according to the CDC Web site.

Here are some tips on products and procedures in sanitizing and killing germs, according to the CDC and WebMd Web sites.
If soap and water are not available, use gel hand sanitizers or alcohol-based hand wipes containing 60% to 90% ethyl alcohol or isopropanol. Most supermarkets and drugstores carry these products. Carry one or both with you when you travel, and keep them in your car or purse.

If using the gel sanitizer, rub your hands until the gel is dry. You don’t need to use water. The alcohol in the gel kills the germs on your hands.

Washing with soap and water:
• Place your hands together under water (warm water if possible).

• Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds (with soap if possible). Wash all surfaces well, including wrists, palms, backs of hands, fingers, and under the fingernails.

• Clean the dirt from under your fingernails.

• Rinse the soap from your hands.

• Dry your hands completely with a clean towel if possible (this helps remove the germs). However, if towels are not available it is okay to air dry your hands.

• Pat your skin rather than rubbing to avoid chapping and cracking.

• If you use a disposable towel, throw it in the trash.