Low water pressure prompts bathroom closures

A plumbing issue left all toilets in the main building and portable trailers unusable. Jackson-Reed students and staff remained in school throughout the dysfunction. 

A blockage in the water filtration system significantly decreased water pressure to the main building and the portables on February 8 through February 9. While toilets in those areas were unusable, the sinks in all bathrooms continued to function. The only fully functioning toilets were in the C wing and the locker rooms, leaving eight out of the sixteen bathrooms in the school available to approximately 2,200 students. 

Principal Sah Brown emphasized the importance of prioritizing student learning despite minor obstacles. Brown said that students would just have to walk a little further to get to the restroom, but learning should not be interrupted. Also “[skipping school] would not be an excused absence because [students could still] go to the restroom,” Brown said. 

Julia Heit, sophomore at Jackson-Reed explained how she felt that the issue was a bit inconvenient. “I was on the third floor and I had to walk all the way to the C wing which was a little strange,” she said. But other students mentioned that it didn’t have too much of an impact on their learning. 

The school’s response was immediate, with work orders being sent out the day of the outage.  

Brown added that while he did not receive any concerns from parents, some teachers raised concerns regarding the ability for the school to remain in session.

“I guess I was a little surprised that they started school the next day, knowing they didn’t have the bathrooms under control,” social studies teacher Eduardo Canedo said. “People were anxious about what they were going to do, and I think it created a lot of anxiety,” he continued.


Canedo emphasized the importance of communication about the issue. Even though it was fixed within a reasonable time period, he would have liked the staff to have communicated a little bit more about whether the issue would be short term or long term. 


“I think that complaint was due to misinformation. People were under the belief that there were no functioning restrooms,” Brown said.


Issues with water pressure are not uncommon and Brown noted this inconvenience could potentially happen again. •