School Custodians Are Essential Frontline Workers For Our Students

Juan Ramos has been a school custodian and union member for nearly 30 years. His father was a custodian before him, and Ramos spent summers helping his dad starting out when he was just fourteen-year-old. With that much experience under his utility belt, Ramos definitely has the know-how to protect students and educators from coronavirus, but only if he and his colleagues have the equipment and staff-power necessary to fight the deadly virus.

A Custodial Checklist

Tammy LaPlante, a high school custodian in Ashtabula, Ohio, offers a checklist of safety and cleanliness precautions as schools reopen.

  • Training for custodians regarding the proper procedures for cleaning and disinfecting, especially if they will be using a disinfecting machine.
  • Adequate supply of PPE as it requires changing your gloves and other PPE when moving from one task to another.
  • Sanitizing stations at all the entrances being used so upon entering the buildings hands can be sanitized.
  • Timetable for cleaning and disinfecting at regular intervals throughout the day and for the night custodians.
  • All touchable areas need wiped down and disinfected to include restrooms, hallways, handrails, elevators, light switches, door handles and push bars, as well as nightly mopping of all floors.
  • Doors should be left open for minimal risk of contamination.
  • Discontinue use of drinking fountains if possible, but if they are used then more regular disinfecting needs to take place.
  • Check CDC guidance on reopening.

NEA is currently working with partners and affiliates to develop guidance on schools reopening.