Since the start of the 2010 school year, thirsty students at Turlock High School have been able to visit a "hydration station," a state-of-the-art drinking fountain that provides filtered and chilled water.
The high-tech fountain is part of the district's effort to comply with recent state and federal laws that require free, fresh water to be served at schools wherever meals are served or eaten. Proponents of these laws say the requirement promotes learning. "Research shows that kids that are healthy and hydrated learn better and miss less school," said Michael Danzik, nutrition education consultant with the state Department of Education.
There are also health benefits, said Stephen Onufrak of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Providing access to free drinking water is a strategy to support healthy drink choices among children," he wrote in an e-mail.