WATERBURY, CONNETICUT — August 30, 2021 — K – 12 schools across the US are currently beginning the new 2021-2022 school year. Unlike previous school years, students, faculty and parents are faced with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and more specifically the more contagious Delta variant. As we continue navigating the unchartered waters of the pandemic, it is critical for our schools to provide the proper access to hand washing for our children.Similar to our country’s aging infrastructure, US K – 12 schools on average are 42 years old with a small percent receiving funds to execute large renovations. To add context, in 1980 there were 41.1 million students enrolled in US primary and secondary schools, by 2019 the enrollment had grown to 56.6 million for a 38% increase. Growth in enrollment, combined with aging facilities and COVID-19 pandemic, it is not always possible to offer proper handwashing while adhering the current social distancing requirements. Even on staggered school day schedules, many schools are challenged in providing handwashing stations to all students at the CDC recommended times to wash your hands.
Recommended Times to Wash Your Hands at School
- Before and after eating (lunch, snacks, etc)
- After using the restroom
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- After recess, gym or any function where common objects are touched
Eemax® Inc., a manufacturer of tankless electric water heaters, has developed an electric, portable handwashing station that can be utilized both indoors and outdoors on school campuses across the US. Eemax handwashing stations can be placed in a multitude of locations including classrooms, hallways, cafeterias, gymnasiums and can be used as a temporary solution for large events such as athletics or meetings. The cost effective portable units are powered by the Eemax MiniTank (15 amp plug for use in common 120V outlet ) and have its own waste storage as well as the capability to utilize a fixed inlet or temporary cold water line (simple garden hose) and drain for a longer term / higher volume solution.
The portable handwashing station’s thermostatic mixer provides a comfortable water temperature for up to 500, CDC recommended 20 second handwashes while the locking non-marring wheels make it easy to deploy.
Each station provides the ability to complete the 5 CDC recommended hand washing steps.
- Scrub (20 seconds)
Why Not Hand Sanitizer?
Scientific studies show lathering and scrubbing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds removes harmful germs and chemicals. Wetting hands with clean water before applying soap helps to get a better lather which forms pockets called micelles that trap and remove germs, viruses, chemicals, pesticides and metals.
Comparatively, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, can be used to kill some germs, but does not remove harmful chemicals, pesticides or metals. To be fully effective, hand sanitizer must cover 100% of the hand’s surface and must not be wiped off before being fully dried. Further, the surge of hand sanitizer sales in 2020 (600% increase) attributed to 1.6 million tons a day of additional plastic waste being generated. To further complicate the cost and environmental impact, sanitizers that are 60-95% isopropyl or ethyl alcohol (recommended by the CDC to kill the COVID virus) are flammable at room temperature. If unused or partially used, they must be disposed of as hazardous waste.
Eemax has prioritized the assembly of the portable handwashing units along with their suite of handwashing products due to the critical need for hand sanitation manifested by the COVID pandemic. “We are seeing portable handwashing stations, of all different designs, proliferate as a result of the pandemic,” explains Eemax Senior Director of Sales Bill Dahlin. “We are shipping Eemax water heaters to multiple locations, across the nation, to be used for mobile handwashing carts.” Eemax has currently delivered 60 portable handwashing units to several school districts including, Atlanta, Georgia; Montgomery, Alabama and Waterbury, Connecticut and is committed to offering a wide array of hand washing solutions to the US school system.
“The Eemax stations allow us to have warm water, a soap dispenser and hand towels right on the unit. We can move these around as needed through the building. It gives us a lot of flexibility for us to respond to whatever the needs for that particular school,” said COO of Waterbury Public Schools, Will Clark.
|Download PDF of Press Release|