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Colorado’s school custodians clean through staff shortages and uncertainty to keep buildings safe

Tony Arnold, Jeffco’s director of custodial services, said he wouldn’t describe the past year as changing the job, but just some of the focus

Lenora Vallejos cleans chairs at Bruce Randolph School on Thursday, March 19, 2020. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

Before COVID hit, a stressful workday for school custodian David Diment might have involved setting up and cleaning up after multiple school events.

Now, a hard workday means cleaning every inch of the building after a COVID exposure.

“Before it was stressful,” Diment said. “We had a lot to get done, but it wasn’t like if we don’t get this done we run a high risk of getting or letting someone else get a deadly disease.”

The 25-year-old custodian is part of a six-person team responsible for keeping Golden High School in Jeffco safe for students and staff.

A year after the pandemic began, Diment described how the job has become more stressful, enough to push some of his colleagues out. It’s a front-line job that many forget about, he said.

Besides possible risks, Diment said there are different responsibilities now.

Tony Arnold, Jeffco’s director of custodial services, said he wouldn’t describe the past year as changing the job, but just some of the focus.

“We still do the same cleaning and we still clean in the same manner,” Arnold said. “We emphasize things different than we used to.”

Read more at chalkbeat.org.

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