person washing his hands

A recent survey of high school students shows that there’s room for improvement when it comes to school restrooms. The Healthy Handwashing Survey, conducted by Bradley Corp., in August, found that one-half of students rate their schools’ restroom facilities as fair or poor – an unwelcome increase of five percentage points since 2019. Only 18 percent view them as excellent or very good.

Bradley Corp. conducted the survey because it wanted to understand the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on school restroom perceptions, as well as handwashing behavior

The fallout from poorly maintained restrooms can negatively impact students’ perceptions of school. The survey of high school students ages 14 to 18 found that 42 percent believe unclean restrooms reflect poorly on school management while 41 percent apathetically think there isn’t anything they can do about it anyway. A third of students say messy restrooms lower their opinion of the school overall..

The good news is that 94 percent of high school students believe it is important to wash their hands to protect themselves from coronavirus. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) make it a point to wash their hands frequently throughout the day and 55 percent wash their hands more than six times per day. Interestingly, almost half are concerned they won’t have enough time to wash their hands at school.

When asked where in their school they’re most concerned about coming into contact with germs, restrooms topped the list, followed by classrooms, the cafeteria, doorknobs and then hallways.

Students Seek Cleaner Restrooms

Since students are becoming increasingly germ conscious, they’re paying more attention to their environment. According to the survey, students would like to have access to cleaner restrooms that are stocked more frequently with soap, paper towels and toilet paper, and restrooms that are equipped with completely touchless, reliable technology.

“While touchless fixtures in restrooms have been growing in popularity for a number of years, the coronavirus outbreak has accelerated that demand,” said Jon Dommisse, director of strategy and corporate development for Bradley Corp. “Seventy-six percent of high school students believe it’s important that school restrooms have touchless fixtures, while 91 percent of adults echo that sentiment for access to touchless fixtures in all types of public restrooms.”

In addition to improving cleanliness and going touch-free, Dommisse offers these suggestions for providing hygienic and welcoming restroom spaces in educational facilities:

- Post signage with reminders about handwashing and maintaining social distance.

- Position soap, water, drying options and trash receptacles close to the sink to avoid water dripping on floors.

- Decrease entrance and exit touchpoints by propping open or eliminating doors, using S-curved and automated doors, and expanding doorways.

- Enhance ventilation and filtration with robust HVAC, and use fresh air when possible to dilute airborne contaminants like coronavirus. 

- Install hand sanitizer stations outside restrooms so students can sanitize their hands as they enter and exit the restroom.

Bradley Corp. is a leading manufacturer of commercial hand washing fixtures, washroom accessories, restroom partitions, emergency fixtures and solid plastic lockers.