Cowichan elementary school on water only challenge


Administrators don’t want to see juice boxes or pop cans in their school in a move to improve student health. Kendall Hanson has more. 

A North Cowichan elementary school is asking its students to only drink water while at school. Notices recently went home with students that drawing a lot of attention.

Notices recently went home with students that drew a lot of attention.

“[It’s] just to promote and celebrate healthy choices,” said Alexander Elementary Principal Dani Morrow.

In May and June, students held a challenge where they kept track of how much water they drank while at school.

In the eight weeks, students consumed 2,000 litres of water. With the support of the parent advisory committee, administrators then decided to make the school water only.

“Sugary drinks can sometimes spike in blood sugar which means a rise in energy and then a crash,” said Morrow. “We just want our kids to be balanced as they’re at school all day.”

“I also think that it’s about equality. I mean everyone is going to be drinking the exact same thing,” said parent advisory committee co-chair Sarah Byrne. “No two kids are going to be competing over what they’re getting and I think that’s a really positive thing.”

Parents and grandparents picking up students on Friday say they support the challenge.

“Good idea,” said grandparent Matt McGonigle. “I think a lot of kids are affected by too much sweet stuff.”

“Definitely a good move,” said father Keith Charlie. “Especially taking out all the sugar.”

One critic online says “So glad I’m not a student anymore. Won’t allow any choices at all in school anymore yet we can’t figure out why people are unprepared for the real world.”

But the school says it’s not a rigid rule as sometimes students will arrive with chocolate milk or some other drink.

“And that’s part of their breakfast,” said Morrow. “They come in and they finish it and put it away when they’re done and for the rest of the day we promote and celebrate water consumption.”

The region’s medical health officer also is endorsing the water-only move.

Dr. Shannon Waters says it can reduce dental decay and unneeded calories that can lead to obesity.

The question now is will other schools follow in their wake.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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