Custodians at Spokane Public Schools focus on high-touch areas, keeping students and staff safe from COVID-19

SPOKANE, Wash. — Cleaning up before and after school has always been a part of the job.

But in the middle of a pandemic, it’s become even more important for them to keep students and staff safe.

Custodial Maintenance Supervisor Justin East says instead of just going from room to room, it’s now specific areas that need attention.

“We focus on high-touch areas a lot now,” he said. “Any sort of place someone could touch where there could be spread of any sort of illness.”

From sinks to desks to doorknobs, custodians do this high-touch cleaning twice a day — both morning and night.

Clorox 360 is a tool that was brought in specifically for fighting COVID-19.

Custodial staff describe it as being the same as bug-bombing your house.

“This will go on and it’ll cling to stuff and kind of float around and make sure it gets all surfaces,” said SPS custodian Brad Cass. “So it’s a lot better than just taking a rag and disinfecting and going around. It has an electric static charge in it which causes it to kind of float around and clean everything.”

The district has three of these and they end up using it a few times throughout the week.

For the custodians, wearing a mask and staying busy aren’t really big changes.

While they are working to keep the students safe, they miss interacting with them.

“Being able to high five kids or you know just interact with kids,” said Cass.

Right now, Spokane Public Schools has Kindergarten through third grade back to in-person learning.

The district is still phasing students in slowly, but as more students come back in the building, the custodial team is prepared to keep it clean.

“We were lucky enough to be able to slowly step into this, but we have a good system in place and I think that we’ll be successful,” said East.

Custodians say cleaning an average classroom takes about five to 10 minutes.

Clorox 360 is used a few times a week, but especially if there is a COVID-19 outbreak or exposure in one of the schools.

READ: Explaining Spokane Public Schools’ proposed replacement levy

RELATED: Spokane third graders head back to school for the first time in 10 months