SANDY, Utah — As the school year begins in the middle of a pandemic, there is a lot of uncertainty.
Teachers, students and staff in the Canyons School District are back to school and adjusting to the new way of things. Only one thing is missing: more staff.
Right now, the district is looking to fill around 60 positions, which is up from the 30 to 40 positions that are usually open at the beginning of the school year, according to Everett Perry with the Canyons School District human resources.
The district is hiring part-time and full-time positions from custodial work to cafeteria workers and many other positions.
“We need electricians and plumber and I.T. [workers],” Perry said.
There are concerns over safety surrounding COVID-19 for some employees and potential employees, Perry said.
“My message to them is that we are doing everything we can to be equal to or greater than a hospital sanitation,” he said.
People should feel confident that the jobs within the district are stable, Perry said. When students began learning online, employees worked online as well.
“We want to make sure people are comfortable in their jobs but also feeling that security that they don’t have to sweat over 'Will I have a job tomorrow if this happens?'” he said.
- Related story: School custodial staff members prepare for schools to reopen
The Canyons School District invested about $1 million in COVID-19-related expenses, including adding additional custodial staff positions. It’s been difficult filling the open custodial staff positions, said Kevin Kelson, the district's custodial grounds coordinator.
“Right now, working through the pandemic, it’s been difficult. A lot of our staff is teenagers, and you know, mom and dad may not be comfortable with them working in the schools,” he said.
There are open positions for all types of people, Kelson said.
“Whether you are retired, older, just looking for something to do, or you’re young just starting out,” he said.
Kelson started mowing lawns part-time for the district when he was a teenager, but never imagined he would make a career out of it, he said. Now, Kelson oversees hundreds of employees. It’s the kind of job you can turn into a career, he said.
“[I started] part-time on the grounds crew mowing lawns for the summer and then applied for the full-time, contracted position as we call it, and got hired on as an assistant custodian at Bingham High and haven’t looked back since,” he said.
Right now, Kelson and his team are especially busy. Everything revolves around disinfecting, he said.
“Everything our kiddos touch, we want to make sure we are disinfecting every night,” Kelson said.
The district is hoping people looking for work will consider applying to work within the district to help fill the vacancies.
Several other districts are looking to fill open positions as well. The Granite School District is also looking to hire more employees as well, including bus drivers, part-time aides and maintenance staff, a spokesperson said.
For more information on job openings in the Canyons School District, click here.
For more information on school re-opening guidelines in Utah, click here.