By Jimmy Gomez
One year has passed since the COVID-19 pandemic started, and finally, the reopening of schools is starting to become an even greater discussion. Custodians have played an important role in the reopening of schools and are helping prepare for hybrid learning in order for the students and staff to feel safe to return to school.
Even though health workers and law enforcement are crucial during these times, we can not forget about our custodial staff. Our custodial staff consists of: Carlos Feliciano (Head Custodian), Robert Lopez (Day Custodian), Daniel Vargas (Night Lead Custodian), Anthony Zaragoza (Night Custodian), and Paul Galvan (Night Custodian).
At school, they have been preparing and setting up the classrooms and other parts of the campus, which has made it reassuring to return to school. “We have been trying to keep busy setting up for hybrid learning and taking care of other projects that are not possible during regular class hours and days,” says Mr. Galvan. Some of the actions they have taken to prevent more COVID-19 cases from arising at school are setting up each desk with clear plastic dividers, measuring & separating desks to make sure they are 6 feet apart, and having marked stand-by lines for entrances and exits.
The custodians have also made sure that all the classrooms and offices are deep cleaned and disinfected after being used by any staff. They have also been adding air purifiers to all rooms, gyms, and offices and have been removing any extra furniture to make as much space possible. Mr. Zaragoza stated, “As a custodian it’s just preparing for new safety measures we must take to make sure students and staff can return to school and feel safe to want to come back.”
The pandemic has also affected the custodial staff and the work that they do. They no longer have students to take care of, which is an important part of their job. Mr. Zaragoza says, “Covid has been tough, with the schools being closed and the world being closed, it’s given me little options to do anything.” Others have lost loved ones or family members. I’m sure that most of us, if not all, can relate to this. And it has not been such a grand experience. However, they have found ways to distract themselves and do things that they love.
I am sure that I can speak on behalf of the seniors of this year’s graduating class that we are thankful for them because without our custodians, there wouldn’t be any possibility that we could return to school. Some of us have lost our motivation, but returning to campus as a student for the last time is meaningful to us. It is important that we remind ourselves that our custodians work very hard to make sure that we are safe and comfortable at school. Not only during this pandemic, but also during “normal times.”
The Bugle thanks them all for their work and the actions they have taken in order to make us feel safe.