Grady faculty works to manage Atlanta boil water advisory


Zoya Charania

Bottled water and gallons of water were brought to school, so students and staff could stay hydrated throughout the day, while the boil water advisory was still in action.

Late Monday morning, on Dec. 3, a boil water advisory was issued across all of the City of Atlanta. Residents in Atlanta experienced low water pressure and water restriction due to a water pressure control issue at the Hemphill Pump Station in Northwest Atlanta.

City residents were instructed to use either boiled or bottled water for cooking, drinking and washing hands. Over two-dozen schools in the Atlanta Public Schools district, including Grady, were affected by the crisis. The district  instructed them to stop using the school water. Grady, along with all other schools in APS  canceled all after-school activities on Monday due to the boil advisory.

“There are two main things that Grady is doing to keep everything running smoothly,” said Assistant Principal Raymond Dawson.

The first was covering up all water fountains with garbage bags so that students didn’t drink from them, and the second was to keep students from washing their hands with the school water.

“It’s not just the drinking water; it’s also the water we wash our hands with,” Dawson said.

In order to keep students from using the school water to wash their hands, on Tuesday morning, Dec. 4, administrators sent an email  to all faculty and staff to round up any hand sanitizer they had. They were told to keep it accessible to students, so students were still able to keep their hands clean without using the school’s water.

“We understand that the water is contaminated, so we don’t want people washing their hands with it,” said Assistant Principal Willie Vincent.

As a result of the possible contamination, the safety of school-provided lunches and access to drinking water was brought into question. Although school-provided lunches were not affected by the possible water contamination, students still couldn’t drink from the water fountains at school. To solve this issue, APS supplied schools with bottled water. On Tuesday morning, Grady  received 56 cases of bottled water to ensure that students and staff still had access to safe drinking water throughout the day.

“No one can really foresee this happening,” said English teacher Mary Villapondo. “Grady is doing what they can to keep it under control.”

Byron Barnes, Grady’s business manager, said the water issue’s greatest impact was on Monday’s after-school activities.

“It didn’t impact our regular school day that much,” he said.

After school activities resumed back to normal on Tuesday, Dec. 4 and the boil water advisory was lifted at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday as well.

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