Alcoa City Schools custodians to clean more this school year

Schools are petri dishes for germs and custodians are preparing to keep kids safe from viruses and bacteria from spreading.
Published: Jul. 15, 2020 at 8:58 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Schools are petri-dishes for germs and custodians are preparing to keep kids safe from viruses and bacteria from spreading.

For more than 30 years Jimmy Fagg has been a school custodian.

“It’s just like a new world. Everything’s changed. Everything’s going to look different,” said Fagg.

This year at Alcoa High School his work will signify good health for students and staff.

“We have to spend a lot of time-more time-cleaning, sanitizing areas, especially touch surfaces,” explained Fagg.

He is expecting to go through more soap, paper towels and hand sanitizer.

The cafeteria has a capacity of 162 seats for social distancing. So there will be four groups of students eating at separate lunch times. In between each group, there the seats and tables will be cleaned.

Hand sanitizer stations are in the process of being installed in each classroom near the door, and overnight, two custodians will clean each classroom thoroughly. Bathrooms and locker rooms will be evaluated to see how much they will need to be cleaned throughout the day as well.

“We’ve cleaned all the rooms from top to bottom, they’ve all been sprayed down already once. We’re supposed to get our new machine in tomorrow and we will go through and spray again before the students return,” explained Fagg.

They’re purchasing two disinfectant machines called Clorox 360S to sanitize hard to reach areas. This will help with custodians not having to wipe down every locker, but rather the spray will handle that job.

“It’d be tremendous amount on the school systems this year,” said Fagg.

The Director of Alcoa City Schools, Rebecca Stone, said staff members are spending more money on custodial services.

The Alcoa Education Foundation, Home Depot and Airport Honda are helping with donations, Stone said in an email.

“It is definitely another hardship on our budget but we do what we have to do in order to keep our staff and students as safe and healthy as possible,” wrote Rebecca Stone in an email.

Fagg said he has worries, but wants to persevere.

“I have my uncertainty about it because I do have underlying health conditions. And I know that people that can catch the COVID-19 do struggle with it more severely than a younger person does. But I know it’s time we have to move forward, we can’t stop, we can’t let this control us,” explained Fagg.

Alcoa City Schools will welcome students back based on last name. That will begin in waves beginning July 22.

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