New, permanent hand-washing stations provide improved pathogen control in elementary and middle schools

When school districts began brainstorming solutions and new policies for safely bringing students back to the classroom amid COVID-19, Penn-Harris-Madison (P-H-M) School Corporation wasted no time. Early on, they explored the need for solutions to enhance hygiene practices among students, especially younger students, to prevent the spread of the virus.

They determined that more opportunities for hand washing were crucial, meaning they needed more sinks.

“Hand washing is a key critical preventive measure for minimizing the spread of COVID-19,” Joe Winters, Director of Facilities of P-H-M School Corporation, said. “Hand hygiene has always been stressed in schools; teachers urging and reminding students to wash their hands before and after eating, after recess, and especially during cold and flu season.

“Several of our schools already had sink locations outside of the restrooms. When COVID shut down our schools in March, we knew that when we eventually brought students back into the buildings, we’d need to have more stations to support the amount of hand washing that would be necessary.”

P-H-M wanted to balance this new need during the pandemic with what would be practical for their facilities long term, as well as their budget. We worked with them to design and install permanent hand-washing stations in four elementary schools and three middle schools.

Middle School Handwashing Station after COVID

Two, four-faucet hand-washing stations were placed at each school in and near the cafeterias, where cross-contamination and hygiene concerns are heightened. The 56 new faucets across seven schools balanced the district’s need for increased hand washing access, reasonable wait times for students, budget, and responsible design.

“We were able to achieve the goal of adding 56 total stations in these schools in just two months thanks to the expertise and efficiency of Schmidt Associates,” Winters said.

The stations and their associated plumbing were designed, ordered, and installed before students returned to school Sept. 14.

Use your HVAC system to help prevent the spread of pathogens in your school. Read more here.