Copperas Cove High School head custodian Renee Beaton heaves the misting system filled with disinfectant on to her back. She begins walking through the classroom spraying down the desks from top to bottom including the legs all the way down to where they meet the floor.
All CCISD staff are preparing for the return of students in less than a week. The custodial staff will clean and disinfect the classroom at the end of every school day and will “mist” the classroom with disinfectant that eliminates bacteria and germs when students are out of the classroom at lunch, recess, physical education and other times.
Beaton said she doesn’t just take care of school buildings, but the most important contents within the school, the students.
“Custodians are there when our students arrive each day. They are there when our students leave for the day, and they are there on Family Nights, Open House, weekend games in the gyms, our stadiums, and school festivals,” she said. “It’s literally a dirty job, but we are willing to do it to keep our children and staff in a safe and healthy learning environment.”
Beaton said the new misting system takes one-third of the time of having to wipe every surface from top to bottom by hand. The mist dries rapidly and the classroom is quickly sanitized and ready for students to return within a short period of time such as lunch or recess. Teachers and paraprofessionals are also responsible for wiping down student desks and work areas every two hours in the classroom.
Beaton said custodians are diligent about keeping the areas outside the classroom sanitized and safe for students as well.
“During the school day, commonly touched surfaces will be disinfected. Areas to be disinfected include doors and door handles, drinking fountains, sinks and fixtures, restroom stalls, and other commonly touched areas,” Beaton said.
Eighty custodians in CCISD clean buildings measuring a total square footage of more than 1.5 million feet. Break that down into just hallways not counting classrooms, cafeterias and other common areas and it equates to nearly 30 miles.
School grounds are also being readied for students’ return on Tuesday. CCISD employs seven employees who are responsible for groundkeeping duties on more than 360 acres spread across 11 school campuses and more than a half dozen departments.
CCISD Director of Maintenance Mark Stahl said the district grounds team labors tirelessly to make sure school and facility grounds are well groomed and presentable.
“They take great pride in their work as they know it is a reflection of the school district to students, other staff, parents, and the community,” Stahl said. “This team of seven employees has faced some challenges with achieving their work this year considering the major construction projects at Crossroads High School and Copperas Cove High School.
“They have been asked to do more with less time and have offered no complaints or objections,” Stahl said. “They have accomplished and continue to accomplish this while remaining professional and keeping smiles on their faces.”