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‘It’s a lot more cleaning’: School custodial staff members prepare for schools to reopen

Posted at 6:11 PM, Aug 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-07 20:11:26-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Some of Utah's school districts will begin the school year online, others will be offering a hybrid schedule, and some will open fully in person.

Both the Canyons and Granite school districts are offering in-person classes five days per week. This means deep cleaning will be done much more often.

“Every school will have enough PPE and enough cleaning supplies to last throughout the entire year,” Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley said.

The Granite School District has spent about $1.5 million, with an extra $400,000 in funding available to pay for COVID-19 related expenses. The district is also receiving close to $4 million in federal CARES funds and has received mask and supply donations from the state.

The district is making some of their own cleaning supplies and has hospital grade disinfectant for deep cleaning, but they can’t do it alone, Horsley said.

“Keeping everything clean is obviously a shared responsibility, that’s why students and teachers are going to be asked to wipe down their area about once an hour,” he said.

The district is also adding touch-free paper towel dispensers and hand sanitizing stations.

The Canyons School District is increasing custodial staffing by about 25 percent and tripling the amount of cleaning, Canyons School District custodial trainer Todd Muir said. The district is spending around $1 million in COVID-19 related expenses.

“We have a wide variety of chemicals and tools that we use,” Muir said.

The goal is to deep clean every day after school and to be focusing throughout the day on high touch point areas, he said.

“Things that are touched by a lot of people are going to receive a lot more cleaning,” he said.

The Canyons District is still trying to fill the open positions, and Muir admits it hasn’t been easy.

“There is a little anxiety about coming to work and working in large groups, so it’s been difficult to find people,” he said.

For Muir, he said he hopes parents talk to their kids about the importance of hand washing and wearing a mask.

“If we use the right disinfectants, if we use the right procedures and we do it the right amount of time, I think we are going to be okay,” he said.

Both districts will be providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to teachers, students and staff including hand sanitizer, face coverings, Plexiglas barriers where needed and more. Physical distancing will be utilized when feasible, but when not possible, face coverings will help. Face coverings are required to be worn in all Utah schools per Gov. Gary Herbert.

For more information on the Granite School District, click here.

For more information on the Canyons School District, click here.

For more information on school re-opening guidelines in Utah, click here.