About 300 re-usable water bottles have been purchased for students at Alexander Elementary School to use after the school decided on a water-only to drink program. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

Vancouver Island school says ‘no’ to pop and juice

Water is the only option for thirsty students during this trial run at an elementary school in Duncan’s Cowichan Valley.

Officials at Duncan’s Alexander Elementary school on Vancouver Island have sent a notice home to parents saying the school will no longer allow pop, iced tea, juice or energy drinks.

The school has gone water-only, after a successful experiment that saw staff and students consume more than 2,000 litres of water towards the end of the last school year. Instead, the school’s parent advisory group has donated new re-usable water bottles.

“We definitely support it,” said school PAC co-chair Sarah Byrne. “I’m pretty sure we ordered 300 water bottles so that we could give one to every student that was coming and then have a few leftover for any sports teams and stuff,” she said.

Superintendent Rod Allen said the district is “fully supportive” of what the school is doing, “and we wouldn’t be surprised if other schools are going to be watching to see how it goes.”

He noted School District 79 (Cowichan Valley) is working to provide all its schools with at least one water bottle filling station.

“We’re certainly supportive of initiatives that promote good health and nutrition for our students and staff,” Allen said. “We’re not aware of any other schools in our district who are doing a water-only school initiative like Alexander Elementary, but many of our schools have incorporated elements of a healthy lifestyle in their schools.”

For example, school meal programs focused on providing a balanced meal.

“We work with a local nutritionist to support talking to kids about nutrition. And many schools are encouraging students to have healthy lunches, healthy snacks, limiting their sugar intake, etcetera, through awareness and education.”

While school officials were praising the move, Facebooker’s reactions were mixed about the idea.

Some were moderately supportive, while others were vehemently opposed.

The notice that went out to parents did note, however, the move is only a trail run and will be reevaluated at a later time.

“We will try this out for a little while, and see how we do,” it said. “We are looking forward to seeing our learners continue to make healthy choices!!!”

Other commenters also pointed out this initiative takes away the ability for kids to choose for themselves, something that could deter them later on in life.

Canada’s Childhood Obesity Foundation advocates for no sugary drinks and information on its website notes: “Children at risk of becoming overweight or obese include children who consume food and drinks that are high in sugar and fat on a regular basis such as fast food, candy, baked goods, and ESPECIALLY pop and other sugar-sweetened beverages.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Denciti Development Corporation is ready to start building a 108-unit residential building at 6117 Uplands Dr. (Integra Architecture Inc./Denciti Development Corp. image)
Developer ready to get started on apartments on Uplands in north Nanaimo

More than 100 units planned for 6117 Uplands Dr. building

Deborah Saucier, Vancouver Island University president and vice-chancellor, was among the panelists in the Future of Post-Secondary Education discussion at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Oct. 28. (VIEA YouTube screenshot)
Island’s universities challenged to ‘build community’ amid remote learning

VIU, UVic and Royal Roads University admin discuss COVID-19 impact at economic summit

John Albert Buchanan, accused in the September 2017 murder of Richard Sitar in Nanaimo, is currently standing trial in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Man accused in Nanaimo beating death told police he didn’t hurt victim

Arresting officer takes the stand in John Albert Buchanan’s second-degree murder trial

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

Most Read