(Photo: Maskwacîs Education Schools Commission)

(Photo: Maskwacîs Education Schools Commission)

School custodians ‘unsung’ heroes during pandemic

Schools have increased the sanitization of key, high-touch areas

By Chevi Rabbit

For Ponoka News

We’ve heard about frontline healthcare workers, truck drivers and teachers, but one profession that hasn’t been highlighted a lot during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is school custodians, working to keep learning spaces clean and sanitized.

Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) is a public school authority operated out of Ponoka and oversees Alix, Bentley, Bluffton, Ponoka, Clive, Lacombe, Ekville, Blackfalds and Rimbey.

Andy Jeans, WCPS custodial/grounds supervisor states that pre-COVID-19, the custodian’s role focused on daily cleaning and sanitizing of the building and grounds.

He says the janitorial industry has traditionally been an unsung vocation in general, but the praise and support within the Wolf Creek division has always been strong, and never more than this year.

READ MORE: Wolf Creek Public Schools receive $2.5 M for COVID costs

To ensure a safe and healthy return during the pandemic, schools have increased the sanitization of key, high-touch areas, such as door knobs, push panels and crash bars, toilet handles, cubicle doors, taps, dispensers, water fountains and reception areas. These critical areas are sanitized a minimum of three times a day.

Wolf Creek custodians are also on call throughout the day to disinfect a work space if that student or teacher has displayed any of the core COVID symptoms and has been removed to an isolation area.

The custodian then disinfects the isolation area after use, and appropriately disposes of any materials needed for that. They also ensure that hand sanitizing dispensers and disinfectant spray bottles are filled when needed.

“Wolf Creek Schools have seen a number of changes like face masks have been provided, distance markers have been installed in all buildings, more hands-free options installed, and plexiglass dividers are supplied where needed,” said Jeans.

“That the janitorial industry has traditionally been an unsung vocation in general and that it’s definitely not the most glamorous job in the world, but our custodians take great pride in the job they do and the buildings they protect.”

Maskwacîs Education Schools Commission (MESC) is the education authority for all of Maskwacîs’s 11 schools serving 2,148 students.

“The role of the custodial staff has indeed become appreciated much more now than in the past,” said Randy Risto- Kanikânîstahk Kâsîtoskâke, associate superintendent and executive director of MESC corporate services.

“Here services are critical in the battle against this pandemic. Our custodial staff are professionals and are becoming noticed for their excellent work.”

Vincent Yellowbird, Kanâcihcikewin Kâmâmowâcihtat coordinator of Custodial Services Health and Safety says that all custodial staff receive ongoing training and certification with DCS Global Pandemic Cleaning Program for educational institutions.

The courses that MESC custodians have completed so far are: certified inspection, customized cleaning specifications utilizing DCS clean and safe protocols, training curriculum janitorial triage and procedures for COVID-19, hygiene testing and auditing and supervisory training for lead hands.

MESC will also soon be purchasing adenosine triphosphate (ATP) hygiene testing equipment; their cleaning supervisor and lead hands are scheduled to be trained using the equipment in early December, 2020 by DCS Global Enterprises Inc.

Yellowbird says that ATP hygiene monitoring provides accurate and traceable verification of the hygienic status of a surface, which is a key component of a good hygiene program. Yellowbird also says that MESC has partnered with a locally-owned commercial cleaner Jani-King to provide enhanced commercial cleaning services.

CoronavirusMaskwacisWolf Creek Public Schools

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, confirmed eight additional virus-deaths Monday afternoon including one in central zone. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Central zone up to 1,249 active COVID-19 cases

Red Deer sits at 257 active COVID-19 cases

Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen (Alberta government photo)
Innisfail-Sylvan Lake to receive $5,000,000 in Municipal Operating Support Transfer funding

MLA Devin Dreeshen breaks down the funding communities will receive from MOST

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, confirmed eight additional virus-deaths Monday afternoon including one in central zone. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
New record: Red Deer at 236 active COVID cases

One more death in central zone reported

(Photo Courtesy of Fortis Alberta)
New FortisAlberta instillation in Sylvan means more reliability and shorter power interruption times

FortisAlberta recently installed a Distribution Automation system in Sylvan Lake

Sylvan Lake RCMP Detachment. Photo Courtesy of Google Maps
Sylvan Lake RCMP address three key areas of resident concern

RCMP were notified of these main areas of concern through an online Town Hall

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Ash and Lisa Van carry a freshly cut Christmas tree while wearing personal protective masks at a Christmas Tree Farm in Egbert, Ontario, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Cole Burston
‘Everyone wants a tree and they want it now’: Christmas tree sales on pace for record

Anticipated demand for Christmas trees has sparked a rush by some to purchase more trees wholesale

A scene from last year’s Light the Night fundraiser at the Stettler Town and Country Museum. This year’s rendition is on a drive-through basis only, but it still promises to be a not-to-be-missed seasonal highlight. (Independent file photo)
Stettler Town and Country Museum hosts ‘Light the Night’

This year’s rendition is drive-through only, but will still prove to be a dazzling display

(Black Press File Photo)
Rimbey woman gathering Christmas gifts for seniors at Valleyview Manor

Margaret Tanasiuk says she doesn’t want anyone to feel forgotten on Christmas morning

Paramedics register patients at a drive through, pop-up COVID-19 test centre outside the Canadian Tire Centre, home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, in Ottawa, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians aren’t currently worried that people in other countries might get a COVID-19 vaccine first. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Canadians not worried other countries will get COVID-19 vaccine first: poll

Forty-one per cent of respondents say they want the vaccine to be mandatory for all Canadians

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Executive Director and Co-Founder of Rock Soup Craig Haavalsen is sleeping in a tent outside Rock Soup’s location until the Go Fund Me for Rock Soup raises $10,000. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Putting normalcy into asking for help: New non-profit sets up in Wetaskiwin

Rock Soup non-profit is a new secular Food Bank putting down roots in Wetaskiwin.

Most Read