The student news site of Day Creek Intermediate School

The Day Creek Howl

The student news site of Day Creek Intermediate School

The Day Creek Howl

The student news site of Day Creek Intermediate School

The Day Creek Howl

School restrooms: sanitation devastation

A person collecting samples of bacteria on everyday objects.
Madi C.
A person collecting samples of bacteria on everyday objects.

Flushh! When you gotta go, you gotta go. But how do we know our public restrooms are sanitary? 

Some may argue that toilet seats are gross. I mean, who could blame them? Butts of all kinds have been on those seats, right? It seems reasonable when you consider all of the microorganisms that are floating around in a bathroom. But what if toilets aren’t that dirty?

“For school toilets, I put the paper on [the seat] and I squat for double protection. I have to protect my cheeks, y’know?” said Anna W. 

The Howl learned that it’s not uncommon for students to avoid sitting on the toilet seats altogether. Using paper seat covers along with squatting shows the level of caution students use to avoid toilet germs.

“I always avoid using [public toilets] because who knows what they’re doing in there? What if someone who uses the bathroom and they pee and it misses? What if they poop and it misses?” said Matthew Z.

Some people show their discomfort with public restrooms by avoiding them at all costs. The idea of what others may be doing in a public washroom makes students skeptical of lurking bacteria.

“I don’t like public bathrooms and recommend to only use the one you have at home,” Kaitlin L. says. “Germs can make you sick.”

But what if the public restrooms aren’t as bacteria-filled as they’re thought to be?

“I don’t overthink it, and that’s why I’m okay to use [public restrooms],” said Mrs. Kuramata, a 7th grade teacher. “The staff restrooms are way cleaner than the student ones. Our work restrooms are pretty darn nice.”

While the general consensus is that public restrooms are dirty, or at least dirtier than our toilets at home, the science behind things shows that some fears are unwarranted. Studies show that public toilets are “all bark, no bite,” 

Public restrooms actually don’t contain enough microbiomes to affect our health. Bacteria from urine can not live outside the human body. If you don’t wash your hands, you’re bound to get sick eventually (and ew, we might add). And if a bathroom is poorly maintained, it can harbor nasty bacteria. 

The article led the Howl to discover that there will probably not be any  long-term effects such as urinary issues, and that the likeliness of “catching” anything is low. Also, the article revealed that the students’ defensive measures do offer protection. According to Dr Reynolds, a wipe-down of the seat and a paper seat cover is safeguarding plenty. 

A similar article in the NY Times explained that the risk of public restrooms all depends on how sanitized it is: “Sitting on a contaminated toilet seat and picking up a bit of virus or bacteria on the skin of your backside won’t necessarily make you sick; most of these pathogens aren’t “butt-borne diseases,” said Dr. Gerba.” 

So the possibility of catching something while visiting a school bathroom is actually really low. 

“I feel surprised,” Mary G. said. “It reassures me that I’m not doing my business in a dirty bathroom.” 

It would also help students to know that our school restrooms are cleaned nightly and every morning by the janitorial staff.   

“I can understand why people would avoid using the restrooms, especially the ones by the MPR because they get a lot of use. They get dirty really fast,” said Robert, our school custodian. “So we regularly clean them, once a day.”

So you can rest assured that the bathrooms we use are clean, with the approval of our trusty janitorial staff and the research shown above. So raise your hand with the potty signal,  grab a pass, and head for the bathroom. We can now confidently say that it is okay to relax your bum-bum on a toilet seat.

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About the Contributors
Chloe S.
Chloe S., Opinion Writer
Chloe enjoys working with other people. She wants to pursue being a doctor in the future. Chloe has a big love for cats, especially the grey ones. She likes dogs too, of course. Chloe's mom is insanely obsessed with K-drama, so she likes watching it with her sometimes.
Maya P.
Maya P., Opinion Writer
Maya is a reader, she loves writing and has a pet rabbit, she’s super cheerful and social, and wants to be a lawyer someday.
Julianne D.
Julianne D., Opinion Writer
Julianne is a DCIS journalism student who strives to find her passion in life. She still does not know what she wants to be in the future, but what she wants to do is become super rich so she can help others. Her favorite things to do are listening to music, helping, drawing(digitally/traditionally), singing, and dancing. She's open to new experiences in life and this year she's excited about her new experience as a journalist in DCIS year of 2023-2024.
Plum C.
Plum C., Opinion Writer
Plum has loved to write since 2nd grade. She someday hopes to be an author and a lawyer. She enjoys reading and drawing in her free time. Plum prefers writing opinionated pieces, but also loves to write stories. The first book she wrote is called "Donut Cat."
Madi c
Madi c, Photographer
Madi loves to travel and explore new places. Her dream is to travel the world and try new things in each place she goes to. Her dream destination is Europe and hopes one day she will get to go there.