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Custodians needed ahead of Grand Blanc’s return to classrooms

The district needs at least 5 to 10 more custodians to help keep students and their teachers healthy and safe this school year.
Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 6:19 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (9/17/2020) - Grand Blanc Community Schools released a plan this week to slowly allow students back into school buildings.

But, they need help to ensure their classrooms are properly sanitized.

The district is facing a custodian shortage.

“We’re taking it day by day. We’re doing everything to make sure that we are prepared,” explained Joshua Arrand, the Building and Grounds Supervisor.

He oversees the dozens of custodians tasked with keeping students safe and healthy throughout the school year.

They already have a tough job and now the custodial staff is responsible for cleaning 19 school buildings in a pandemic.

“The training has increased, the method of how they go about it has increased; and then, like wearing masks and social distancing has also put more obstacles in the way they clean,” Arrand explained.

The custodial staff has already spaced out the student’s desks, put hand sanitizer in every room and compiled PPE kits for teachers.

When students return, Arrand said their classrooms will need to be sanitized every 4 hours and after the students eat.

“That’s just touch point cleaning,” he explained. “So, you would just hit the desks real quick and the chairs and the door handles or any sink faucets.”

Then when the school day is over, he said it’s time for the daily deep clean, which is more than a one-person job.

That’s where Arrand explained his team needs help.

“Most of our elementary [schools] require two to two-and-a-half people, our middle schools require - the size of them requires about five custodians at night. And then, our high schools require significantly more,” he explained. “I think that takes 9 to 13 people to clean that building.”

But Arrand said, they do not have that manpower right now.

He’s looking to hire at least 5 to 10 more custodians, or he and his current staff will be working overtime.

Arrand understands the fears and concerns of being the first line of defense, but promises the staff will be protected.

“There is equipment provided by the school, their safety is first; and we’re, you know, we make sure they get the proper training, we make sure that the environment is safe and there is a need. We need these schools to be ready and safe for our students to come back. So the education can be taught,” Arrand said.

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