School district recognizes maintenance, custodial staff for extra duties during pandemic

by WHITNEY ENGLAND
Reporter | December 16, 2020 1:00 AM

The maintenance and custodial staff members across the Whitefish School District are being recognized for the extraordinary effort they have made to keep school buildings safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a recent Whitefish School Board meeting, the district’s maintenance director Chad Smith listed the names of each maintenance and custodial staff member within the school district. Smith also explained the numerous changes his staff has implemented this school year and the amount of work that has gone into every extra task.

“There’s just a lot of extra cleaning and disinfecting going on, they’re doing their regular cleaning plus the deep disinfecting cleaning way more often,” he explained.

Smith said his custodial and maintenance employees took on the extra task of reassuring and answering staff questions and concerns, while also educating them about the differences between disinfecting and sanitizing.

He also put together kits at the beginning of the year that include rags and disinfectant spray to keep in each classroom — the custodians collect the rags to wash and return with fresh ones each day. The school also has electrostatic misters that the custodial staff uses to quickly disinfect hard surfaces by spraying a disinfectant fog onto the surfaces to kill pathogens on contact.

“A lot of things are required to help speed up the disinfecting,” Smith said.

Prior to the start of the school year, maintenance and custodial staff members had the task of rearranging the furniture throughout the schools to promote social distancing, they subdivided lunchrooms and also had the duty of cleaning up after lunch inside classrooms at Muldown Elementary School as elementary students have been remaining in the classroom for lunchtime.

Maintenance employees installed several more water bottle filling stations, plexiglass on service windows and more COVID-19 prevention items, according to Smith.

He added that Lori Savage who works in receiving for the district has been tasked with extra work as well, as she’s dealt with juggling all the COVID-19 supplies and also extra online orders that would have previously been purchased in person.

Whitefish School Board Chair Katie Clarke, along with the other trustees and administrators at the recent meeting, offered a round of applause for the maintenance and custodial staff’s work.

“When we say educators we think teachers, but really anyone who is employed by the Whitefish School District is an educator — you’re making education happen,” she said. “So thank you so much to you and your staff for literally creating the space where the magic happens.”

The staff recognized, included: at Muldown, Travis Fredrickson, Dara Horne, Michael Giordano,

Kenneth Weese; at Whitefish Middle School, Bob Whitright, Chris Dewan, Tom Bernat, Randy Seymour, at Whitefish High School, Tim Bissell, Janet Bridges, Marty Quigley, Vanessa Smith; at CSE/WHS/district office, Renea Fredrickson; CSE Farm Manager Chris Bickford; in the maintenance department, District Maintenance Director Chad Smith, District Maintenance Technician Alan Dias, District Maintenance Technician Adam Rohde; and in district receiving Lori Savage.