Today was the kids’ first day back, and boy did things go differently! I’ve been a school cleaner for 16 years, and, interestingly, I’ve never before had less to do than I do right now. This might seem counter-intuitive, but it’s actually a testament as to how well-planned out things are to account for what’s going on. No amount of planning is going to stop the spread completely, but… well, we’ll see how it goes.
In the district I work for, the elementary level kids are divided into AM and PM groups. That means no more than 12 kids are in a room at a time. Desks are spaced out accordingly. All area rugs, pillows, fabrics are in storage. I suddenly have barely any vacuuming to do. Also, when kids are only there for 2 hours, they make way less mess. They’re there to learn, and not a whole lot else. No recess, no art, no music, no wandering down the hall to get a drink because they are bored / antsy. They generated roughly half as much trash. They went to the bathroom way less. The bathrooms looked like they’d been barely touched.
Also, there are less rooms being used because some teachers are working exclusively remotely.
All this “less” frees me up to focus on disinfecting, which we’re taking very seriously. But it’s not just me and my co-workers. We now have an army of disinfect-ers: teacher aides plus any teachers who want to clean. Anyone who wants to clean things is highly encouraged and we suddenly have a ton of supplies to make that happen.
We have stations set up for any adults to grab stuff to clean. There’s hand sanitizer everywhere you look and signage for kids so they remember how they now have to be, while they are here.
Things are always in really good shape after the first day of school. Kids are on their best behavior and don’t mess up much stuff. But this year, it was to an extreme. We’ll see what the next few days / weeks / months bring…
Last week I got my free flu shot, in the cafeteria of the high school I used to work at (I now just work at an elementary school). I went around back, and luckily ran into a former co-worker who was dumping garbages. It was cool to get to see him, and I was able to just go directly inside along with him, instead of going through the front, going to main office, checking in, getting visitor name tag, etc. etc. I chatted with him for a minute, then followed others down to the cafeteria to get the shot. A lady was there to organize us and hand out the forms we need to fill out. She looked at me kinda sideways and said, “How old are you?”
“Me? I’m thirty-one.”
“Oh, I thought you were a kid!”
“Oh, yeah, I get that sometimes.”
“OK good… well you’re lucky.”
I think she meant lucky that I look so young? I do feel lucky – I like passing as a kid. And I was even wearing my janitor uniform including ID badge on this occasion and everything, ’cause I was heading straight to work. Don’t know of many high-schoolers who’d be sporting that outfit.