Just as the crew and cameramen are as necessary to shooting a film as the actors themselves, Lexington High School’s custodial staff is an integral part of our community. They play an essential role in allowing students and staff to conduct in-person educational and extracurricular activities safely.
Though the pandemic has presented unparalleled health challenges, LHS custodians are readily adapting to these unprecedented times with several structural changes. For example, while there were initially three custodians composing the day custodial staff, one member of the night staff has moved to the day to accommodate the new COVID-19 cleaning routines.
“What they do is nothing but making the rounds on the high-touch surfaces, all the door handles, the bathroom doors, the flushometers, the toilet handles, anything people touch—light switches, you name it; that became a top priority with disinfecting and sanitizing because of the spread of COVID,” David Amicangioli, the facility manager at LHS, said.
LHS would be a mess, literally and figuratively, without the work of the custodial staff. The custodians are the backbone of LHS and constantly perform a variety of duties behind the scenes that allows the school to function smoothly.
“We have FedEx, Office Depot, UPS coming to our loading dock, I mean, literally every 15 minutes there’s some truck there dropping off packages, some things are getting sent back. The kitchen is always getting deliveries, especially early in the morning,” Amicangioli said.
In addition to handling rigorous tasks, the custodians also need to remain prepared at all times for any unexpected situations that might arise. Oftentimes, this includes dealing with amusing situations.
“You know, the stuff we deal with you wouldn’t believe. ‘Oh, I flushed my keys in the toilet. I can see them, but I can’t get them out.’ Ok, we have special grabbers, the guys will go and get them,” Amicangioli said.
Their flexibility not only benefits those in need of some extra help, but also plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety of staff and students during unexpected weather, such as snow days.
“Sometimes we come in at four in the morning, just to be ready. A lot of the times we don’t know that school’s been called a snow day, […] but until we hear it from the superintendent, okay, [we] pretend school’s coming, and sometimes it does, and we’re prepared for it,” Amicangioli said.
Indeed, much of the work that the custodial staff performs is outside of the regular school schedule. Though the school day ends at 3:10, it is just the beginning of work for the custodial night staff who clean, disinfect, and prepare the buildings for another day of school.
“Before we leave at night we go from room to room, hallway to hallway, and we spray all the rooms down with what’s called a sanitizer, so it sanitizes the building for the evening, so when the building is opened in the morning it’s basically a clean slate, it’s all sanitized, and then we go through the whole thing everyday,” Michael Sullivan, the head evening custodian, said.
With the innumerable tasks that custodians are responsible for, it is important that students and staff lend a hand to LHS’ diligent custodial staff.
“If it was a nice day outside and you wanna eat outside in the quad, if you could clean up that stuff it does take away from what we have to do. Be good … [and] follow the rules,” Sullivan said.