The water fountains at Manatee High School were covered with plastic bags Wednesday, and there was bottled water just about everywhere you looked.
Manatee High is one of 10 schools in the School District of Manatee currently under a boil water caution, imposed upon all city of Bradenton residents through Thursday. All in all, students and staff were coping fairly well, and signs of panic were nowhere to be found.
“When I first heard it I thought, ‘Dang it, how am I supposed to take a shower?’ How am I supposed to brush my teeth?’ ” Emily Mulling, 16, a Hurricane junior, said with a laugh Wednesday as she hung out with friends during lunch break.
Mulling’s school came to the rescue, providing her with bottled water that she took home, at least to use to brush her teeth.
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While Manatee was the only high school in the district under the caution, eight elementary schools under the boil alert had either bagged up or turned off their water fountains as had one middle school — Sugg.
The elementary schools are Prine, Rogers Garden, Ballard, Manatee, Miller , Moody, Sea Breeze and Wakeland.
Also under the caution are the downtown school board building and The Robert G. Matzke Support Center, said Regina Thoma, director of food services for the district.
Manatee High students ‘chill’ over water
“I don’t think anyone has been that affected by it,” said Hurricane soccer star Aidan Grumley
“I was actually drinking the water when the announcement was made,” said Hurricane golfer Grant Latham, who was still alive and well Wednesday.
“I’ve been wanting to drink from a fountain all day,” said Hurricane martial artist Jeff Ellis, who used willpower learned doing Brazilian jiu jitsu to overcome his “water fountain” urge.
“Everyone is chill,” said soccer star Luke Greaves.
Under Thoma’s leadership, extra pallets of bottled water were brought into all 10 schools.
“The principals at the schools are deciding whether to hand out water outside of the cafeteria,” Thoma said.
The Hurricane cafeteria crew, and cafeteria crews at all 10 schools, were using gallon jugs of packaged water to wash raw fruit and vegetables served at lunch.
“We don’t really use a lot of water to cook,” said Shelley Deutschle, supervisor of food service for the district. “A lot of our things are baked in the oven, so that is a fortunate thing for us.”
All the activity has occurred because of a brief shutdown of the city’s water system Monday evening, according to Bradenton officials.
Manatee High springs into action
When Manatee High Principal David Underhill himself goes on the school intercom it’s a pretty big deal, said Mulling.
She remembers his 1 p.m. Tuesday announcement that the water fountains could not be used.
“I got a couple of water bottles from school and we had more bottles at home from hurricane preparation,” Mulling said.
Underhill made arrangements so that bottled water would be available to students staying after school for athletics, band and other extracurricular activities.
Students who were heading home were told by Underhill they should not drink the water at their homes.
“We made the same announcement at 2:15 p.m. before they went home,” Underhill said.