||School toilets and handwashing facilities play a critical role in promoting learners' health and preventing the spread of inter alia diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid, intestinal parasites, eye infections and skin diseases.
||In terms of the South African Schools' Act, the school governing body is accountable for the day-to-day maintenance of these facilities.
||All schools need to meet the following basic standards:
- Schools should have sufficient toilets and handwashing facilities to meet learners' needs, based on a recommended learner:toilet ratio of 35:1 and a learner:washbasin ratio of 60:1;
- All toilets and washbasins should be in clean, working order;
- Learners must be provided with access to proper toilet paper to prevent blockages;
- Learners must be provided with soap and clean water to wash hands after using the toilet;
- Sanitary bins should be provided in all female toilets to prevent blockages;
- All schools must make provision for learners with special needs;
- Every effort should be made to ensure learners' personal safety and privacy when using the toilet facilities.
||In addition, schools are advised to consider the following suggestions for improved management of these conditions at school level:
- All schools should undertake a survey of the school toilets and hand-washing facilities and work towards the most appropriate solutions. This survey should be conducted on a regular basis to monitor the use, cleanliness and maintenance of these facilities. Active participation of the learners and educators in this activity should be encouraged. Findings of the survey should then be communicated to the learners, staff, school governing body and circuit manager;
- Soap and toilet paper should be available for all facilities, and should be provided for amply within the school budget. If schools have chosen to have the educators distribute soap and toilet paper when needed to prevent theft and wastage, school management must ensure that adequate opportunity is provided to learners to use these facilities;
- Should toilets or hand-washing facilities be dirty, blocked or broken, this must be remedied within the shortest possible period of time.
||It is recommended that educators refer to the importance of personal hygiene, water, sanitation and environmental health during teaching. Some learner support materials are available from the Health Promotion Resource Centre (Phone number: 021 710 9863, 2nd floor Maynard Plaza, Maynard Road, Wynberg) for both the Foundation and Intermediate Phase.
||The attached School Sanitation Guidelines outline the roles and responsibilities of learners, educators, cleaning staff and the school governing body in ensuring the correct use and maintenance of these facilities. They also provide clear guidelines for day-to-day maintenance and emergency repairs.
||It would be appreciated if these information sheets and this notice could be brought to the attention of all staff and school governing body members.
SIGNED: MJ THERON