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Custodians needed to help keep schools clean and safe against COVID-19

Custodians needed to keep schools safe
Posted at 5:59 AM, Aug 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 08:02:32-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Bringing students back into classrooms comes with increased efforts to keep things as clean and safe as possible. As districts work to deep clean touch points, they need help getting the jobs done.

"Cleaning protocols are still in place here, ensuring that their families are bringing their children in our building knowing it's as safe as possible, having a full staff of cleaners is going to be important," said Mike Ginestre, Superintendent of Schools at the Sweet Home Central School District.

They have a team of custodians ready to battle germs daily, but need more manpower. Other schools like St. Mark in North Buffalo contract out with private companies to get this work done.

Clean MD, based on Orchard Park, will spend a week at the school, cleaning. all of the floors, all of the walls, the bathrooms and even light switches, to get them where they need to be to bring students back.

Schools need to be cleaned daily to sufficiently remove any germs that may be on surfaces, especially high touch points, according to guidance from the New York State Department of Education. If your school building has someone who tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 24 hours, it is important to clean and disinfect the space as soon as possible. Check out additional details on cleaning and

They’ll also be giving them the tools to maintain that level of cleanliness throughout the school year, they make sure schools have the right signage, know what cleaners to use (click here for a list of approved disinfectants) and how often to clean.

They expect this deep clean to take one week with a staff of five, but they have plans to clean several more schools in the next few weeks and to do that, they need a lot more people.

“We’re actually working to bring on another 20-30 people on our staff in the next couple of months because that’s how much work we have coming in," said Stefania Talarico, Director of Business Development at Clean MD.

All of this cleaning requires a lot of equipment, so we caught up with one local janitorial supplier who says providing that can be a heavy lift.

Last year, demand was at an all time high for HJS Supply Co. in West Seneca. The family business had to use all its resources just to stock the shelves. This time around, they're fully stocked—but seeing a lot more customers.

The most requested items are PPE, disinfectant and heavy equipment. But operations management at the company says the most important thing is providing education to the educators.

“We teach people how to do things correctly, so your district or your business has all the ppe, has all the disinfectants, but now how do we apply them correctly, how do we do this on a regular basis to create and maintain a healthy workplace," said Scott DePaolo, Director of Operations at HJS Supply.

To 'sufficiently remove any germs' as New York State guidelines suggest, DePaolo says a simple swipe with disinfectant won’t cut it, so it’s important to do it right.

So HJS offers classes and training on how to clean properly, click here for more info.