Custodians Curb COVID

By Kaitlyn Bell


Like most other issues faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, the day-to-day operations of school and cleaning protocols for the custodial staff have changed significantly. At NHP, the custodians have been working hard to keep students and faculty comfortable and create a system that allows for a safe environment. In these unprecedented times, the dedication and hard work of the custodial staff is something that students and teachers are all extremely grateful for.


Everything from guidelines and protocols to types of disinfectant has been changed since the reopening of schools, and objects that may be considered high risk have to be frequently cleaned, which includes desks and doorknobs. A normal school day always has people constantly moving around the school throughout the day, so working around students and faculty has presented itself as one of the biggest issues.


“I don’t think anything would make [cleaning] easier; I think we’ve got it down pat right now, although it was a learning curve in the beginning. The main thing is trying to get around everyone because people get in the way,” said custodian Mr. Scott Dudkewic.


The break between class periods was extended an extra two minutes to give the custodial staff more time to disinfect classrooms. The custodians have to quickly and effectively clean every assigned classroom, now using electronic disinfectant sprayers.


Source by Anna Detke

Mr. Charles Purnell, a custodian in the building, goes through daily rounds of maintaining proper safety protocols during this unprecedented time of the pandemic.


“It [the cleaning] definitely makes our job a lot harder, including all of the normal stuff we do, and we have a clock watch. We each have a section, including a certain hallway, and we have to spray all high-touch areas,” said custodian Mr. Mike Harsch.


The custodial staff at NHP is in charge of disinfecting the school for all “in-school days,” and when the school shuts down due to a case of COVID-19, they are the ones who clean the building.

The custodians in the building are always motivated to keep NHP safe despite the difficulties they may face.


“Don’t let it beat you, keep a positive mindset, make sure you keep washing your hands, keep your mask on, and if you see someone without a mask on, make sure you let them know to keep their mask on because you’re not just affecting yourself, you’re affecting others as well,” said Mr. Charles Purnell.


“Just try staying positive, as long as we stick together and play by the rules - masks, social distancing, staying away from gatherings - I think we’re all going to get through it. Keep looking at the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Mr. Harsch.


Source by Anna Detke

Custodian Mr. Brian Schembeck sprays down the classroom with an electronic disinfectant spray gun.


“There’s a lot of motivation. It’s getting you guys back to school and having you guys here so we can come back to a little normalcy. In my eyes, this isn’t really a job for me. This is a home; you guys are our family, and we want to make sure we keep our family safe,” said Mr. Dudkewic.


This pandemic is unlike anything seen before, requiring numerous protocols and safety measures, and the custodial staff at New Hyde Park has been working hard to follow these protocols in order to keep everyone in the school safe. Every day, they make it possible for Memorial to stay open, and students and staff alike are filled with gratitude.


"The custodians have really done a lot to help keep the building clean and safe. The ratio of custodians to classrooms is very high and they do a good job to going to each room between periods to clean all the desks. I always say thank you to all of our custodians and truly appreciate all the hard work they put in," said senior Isabella Suh.