A Closer Look: COVID-19 Cleaning Procedures
Spotlight on: Day Porters and Cafeteria Staff
April 19, 2021
Throughout the crazy roller coaster known as COVID-19, people have adapted to mask-wearing, social distancing, and, above all, sanitizing. When it comes to disinfecting and cleaning, no one knows disinfecting better than Midlothian High School’s custodial staff. During the 2020 summer months of the pandemic, the school’s custodians, also known as day porters, worked constantly to ensure that students would have a safe return to the building, sanitizing every inch of the school daily.
Day Porter Tanya Taylor, who has been working for Midlothian High School for 28 years, said, “We disinfect the offices, the doorknobs, and bathrooms in the building. The cleaning process is pretty good.” From sunrise to sunset, the day porters work diligently to clean in between every nook and cranny. “We disinfect the offices, the library, the management rooms, bathrooms, stuff for the staff and for the kids. We clean every day, and it takes about 8 hours,” adds Taylor. In the past year, Taylor’s job as a day porter has changed slightly, adjusting to the new procedures. “The only things that changed was that the kids weren’t here, the teachers were virtual at home, and we were still here a majority of the time, just trying to keep everything disinfected,” Taylor said.
Day porter Chris Cancel shares that his day-to-day cleaning job is time-consuming. “[We] check up the bathrooms, make sure everything is stocked, sanitize desks, lunch tables, garbage, etc,” Cancel said, adding, “It takes the whole day.” During the first and second quarters of the school year, students were forced to complete virtual learning. While students, teachers and most staff were away from the school building for an extended period of time, the school day porters were still disinfecting. “We have always been here,” Cancel said. Since COVID-19, the day porters have upgraded their cleaning process. “Extra sanitizing, restocking the supplies,” Cancel said, adding that “We have the buckets, the rags, and things like that because of COVID-19. We use rejuvenator and sanitizer.” But to Cancel, cleaning the school is an adventure. “It’s no big deal, I don’t mind it,” he adds.
However, the day porters were not the only staff working during the pandemic. Midlothian High School’s lunch staff actively worked to ensure that no student went hungry over the challenging time. They set up a grab-and-go lunch booth in the bus lane, where students could pick up breakfast and lunch to go. School cafeteria worker Birgit Broyles said, “With curbside, [it] takes a lot of work. We’re doing about forty to fifty-five lunches a day.” Broyles also added that, during the pandemic, while students were out, “we were still here making the lunches.” After the return of some students to full in-person learning, the cafeteria lines reopened, however, instead of the usual three lunch lines, it was downsized to just one since the usual number of students was not in the building.
Working together, school day porters Miriam Argueta and Johana Gonzalez are able to fully disinfect the classrooms, mop the floors, and tidy up the facility. Argueta began her job as a day porter about eight months ago during the summer. She said, “We put spray, for the bacteria, and we clean all of the doors, the desks, the light switches – anything the students touch. Last year, we didn’t need to clean as much, and now we need to clean a lot. We have a lot more work.” During the first half of the year, Argueta, Gonzalez and several other day porters still worked to make Midlothian High School shine. “We still cleaned all the hallways, classrooms, everything, while the students were at home. We clean very well for the bacteria and virus so that they are not spread. We keep the school so clean,” said Argueta.
In short, the custodial staff at Midlothian High School has worked endlessly to ensure a safe, clean environment for all students and staff. COVID-19 posed a challenge to the cleaning crew and cafeteria staff, but with determination, they were able to work past the challenges.
Thank you to the Midlothian High School staff for all that you do!