Custodians operate behind the scenes to keep schools safe during COVID

steve brown
Steve Brown, custodian, Berkeley Glenn Elementary School. Photo courtesy Waynesboro Public Schools.

Custodians, very much under the radar, are working hard to keep schools safe during the pandemic, diligently working to ensure buildings are sanitized and furniture is moved to support social distancing.

Longtime Berkeley Glenn Elementary School custodian Steve Brown is one of the many WPS custodians that have had to adjust his cleaning routine because of COVID.

“Things are definitely different now because of COVID. You have to make sure students and staff surfaces are constantly wiped down in order to stop the transfer of germs. Five years ago we didn’t have to worry about cleaning playground equipment and the constant cleaning of door knobs. Now things have changed,” Brown said.

Through it all, Principal Leola Burks is very appreciative of all the hard work the custodians at Berkeley Glenn put in day to day. She recalls a time when Brown and his colleague, Ricky Hale, took it upon themselves to come back after hours to help move furniture due to social distancing needs.

“I have a lot of respect for them both, they are always willing to help and I can say only good things about them,” Burks said.

Bryan Strickler, assistant principal at Kate Collins Middle School, agrees with Burks.

“Our custodians are asked to do a whole lot. I don’t know if people who don’t work with them directly understand how much their work is interrupted and the fact that they are still able to do their job and stay on top of COVID mitigation strategies is remarkable,” Strickler said.

Although maneuvering the twists and turns of COVID can be difficult, according to Brown it is the students that he cherishes most about his job.

“The teachers are good, fine people, but it is the kids that I love about Berkeley Glenn so much. Hearing them say ‘how you doing, Mr. Brown,’ ‘Thank you Mr. Brown,’ means so much to me,” he said.

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