The truth about sanitation buckets

By Shayna Kapadia | Student Life Editor

Blue sanitation buckets were introduced into all the classrooms shortly after Irvington’s lockdown on October 15. However, their addition has been planned since August 2014 by Ms. Urda from the PTSA, who worked with campus supervisor Michele Hartmangruber, Lowes, and Walmart.

“Ms. Cooper and I attended a safety training where this idea was brought up” said Ms. Hartmangruber. “This idea was a lot cheaper than the alternative of emergency toilets. The buckets were about $2.50 each while emergency toilets are about $40 each.”

The sanitation buckets, much like the emergency bags in every room, are a precaution in case of future long lockdowns or other emergencies, such as the lockdown that occurred on Wednesday, October 15, where students and teachers were forced to stay inside rooms for four hours. The buckets allow for students and teachers to be able to relieve themselves in privacy when confined to the classrooms.

During the October 15 lockdown, there were a few cases of students using garbage cans as bathrooms.

“We don’t always know how long these lockdowns go on for,” said Ms. Smoot, “so there’s always going to be a risk of sanitation issues. With the buckets, we can go about this in a more sanitary way and the custodians will have an easier time cleaning up.”

“One teacher had to go out of the room to use the bathroom,” said Ms. Smoot. “We do not want teachers to feel that they have to risk their lives just to go to the bathroom.”

Although there was no real danger, teachers should not have had to leave the rooms during the lockdown. Having designated sanitation buckets ensures that they won’t have to leave the room in an emergency.

Contained in each bucket is a bag of cat litter, toilet paper, wet wipes, a large curtain, and several garbage bags. Although the teachers were not directed to do so, some showed the contents of the container to their students.

All 120 buckets cost $1015.23 and were placed in all the rooms at Irvington except one, Ms. Cook-Kallio’s, who decided not to have a bucket placed in her room.

“Although I really do appreciate the kindness in what the PTSA has done for us with supplying us with these buckets, I already have so many things in my room, there isn’t any room for it,” said Ms. Cook-Kallio. “I already have everything I would need in case of an emergency. There are curtains in my cabinet and I have a small trashcan with plastic bags. Even during the last lockdown, when a student told me that she needed to go to the bathroom, I knew I could make a private area with those curtains in the corner.”

In addition to the sanitation buckets, the PTSA has helped keep the storage container out in the field filled with emergency provisions.

“There’s food, first aid, most things that we would need in case of an emergency,” said Ms. Smoot. “When there are disasters, such as earthquakes, people tend to gravitate towards schools, so we need to be stocked and well prepared.”

The administration has also requested a grant for water barrels to be placed in the school; however, the grant’s approval will not be decided until December 2014.

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The bright, blue buckets are labeled and are placed in mostly all the rooms at Irvington High School.