Wednesdays are now for deep cleaning of the Hopkins County School District facilities, which involves even more attention to detail than is already given by the custodians at each school.
Each custodian receives the same checklist that is completed, but on Wednesdays, the staff does more to make sure the facilities are properly sanitized in the wake of COVID-19. Sanitizing is done daily, but this day allows custodians to do more as students are not onsite as part of the district’s hybrid learning model.
At the Hopkins County Career and Technology Center, Carlos White said the job is to walk the building and hit the most trafficked places.
“We start out with sanitizing the machines, all the surface things we touch, things touched on a daily basis,” he said.
White said he and one other custodian clean the center, which has less students than other places in the district.
“It takes us about 30 minutes in the morning time,” he said. “We get here before everyone gets here, and the other custodian is here in the evening time and she does it again.”
White said all the custodians in the district received training on how to use the products to deep clean. Those products include Scotchgard Glass Cleaner and Protector and a 3M Peroxide Cleaner Concentrate.
At other places like Jesse Stuart Elementary School, Missy Jarvis and the two other custodians that work with her have a longer task of deep cleaning.
“We do basic stuff everyday, but on Wednesdays, we go a little bit more,” she said. “The gym floor is mopped because the kids are touching the floor on Monday and Tuesday.”
Other cleaning duties done on Wednesday include the storage cubbies and the insides of desks.
“They clean the outside of desks every night, but the insides are done on Wednesday and Friday nights because we have two sets of students,” Jarvis said.
Jarvis said the second shift custodians have more on their list at night for deep cleaning.
“The custodians are picking up more slack on night shift,” she said. “They do the walls, the rails and the bathrooms and the stall doors. The hallways are sanitized. Their whole eight hour shift is nothing but deep cleaning and sanitizing.”
White and Jarvis said the teachers’ assistance sanitizing behind students helps throughout the week.
“I think we collectively are keeping the facilities really safe right now,” White said.
George Jones, the Facilities Director at Hopkins County, said the custodians have worked hard to adhere to new state regulations in opening back up the schools.
“Places like North Hopkins will take longer to do,” he said. “It is an almost all-day project — including second shift custodians — to make sure everything is clean.”
When it comes to funding for the extra cleaning supplies needed, Jones estimates he’s spent an additional $45,000 to cover the extra supplies such as safety equipment, towels and cleaning materials needed to keep sanitizing the schools.
“That is a rough number and that is going to continue to climb as we work to stay ahead of the supply demand,” said Jones, who added that he is keeping up with what is being spent because of COVID-19.
“We are hoping that the state or the federal government will reimburse us at some point,” he said. “We don’t know at this point if they will, but we have CARES money that we can use.”
The CARES Act, passed by Congress in April, provided financial aid across the country.
Jones said for now funds have kept the system ahead of running out of supplies.
“We are in pretty good shape right now,” he said. “When this started, I started buying stuff and kept it in stock. After a little while, every school system in the state was looking for the same stuff and it was practically impossible to buy. Now, everyone is coming on board and more is available. It is getting easier to get supplies now. Thank goodness we had enough to get to this point … if we run out, we are in trouble.”