Marshall High School near Tysons Corner is one of 32 aging Fairfax County schools that lack warm or hot water in all or most of the student bathrooms, according to Fairfax County Public School records.
At least three Fairfax County schools — Edison High in Alexandria and Woodson High in Fairfax and Sandburg Middle in Mount Vernon — also lack hot water in their locker rooms, according to school records.
Approximately 27,000 students are taught in the schools, comprising nearly 17 percent of the school system’s total 163,500 student population. The school buildings, typically built in the 1960s or earlier, are located across Fairfax County in communities like Oakton, Great Falls, Falls Church, Annandale, Mount Vernon, Reston and Vienna.
Twenty-three schools have no warm or hot water in the student bathrooms. An additional nine school buildings lack hot water in many of their bathrooms. At Freedom Hill Elementary School in Vienna, for example, the faucets run only cold water in the downstairs boys and upstairs girls bathrooms.
Without warm or hot water in bathrooms, health officials contend, students of all ages are less likely to wash their hands properly — particularly during the colder months.
Contrary to popular belief, hot water does not kill germs — unless the water is boiling. However, hand-washers are more likely to scrub their hands with soap for the recommended 20 seconds if the water is warm, said Kimberly Cordero, spokeswoman for the Fairfax County Health Department.