We point to the questionable practices of open-air markets in other countries as a source of new diseases, while in our own backyard we have restaurants, for instance, who are so dirty we are entertained by news segments on “Dirty Dining.” The latter being a major source of foodborne illnesses and rodent attraction (which bring about more disease).
Another example of society not taking cleanliness seriously is the lack of custodians or janitors in our schools. Let’s take a look at the San Dieguito School District in Encinitas, California. They publish their list of janitor duties. In that publication they start by stating, “Each custodian has on average, 27 classrooms (approx. 32,000 sq. ft.) to clean daily, as well as specialty rooms, and events to prepare for/clean up after.” So they probably have 1.5 janitors per school (just a guess). What that means is janitors are stretched thin and have absolutely no time to clean our children’s classrooms. Here is their extensive list of daily duties in each classroom:
- Vacuuming (weekly)
Where’s the sanitizing of desks? The disinfecting of doorknobs? The mopping of floors? Oh yeah, that’s only during the summer break:
- Washing/disinfecting desks (done through the year as needed, as well)
- Washing windows
- Washing walls….
I’m not picking on the San Dieguito School District either. After researching, there are multiple schools with very similar “cleaning” schedules. I’d go as far to say most schools employ the same sorry practices. That is why, with the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, we now see emails to parents saying schools have ramped up their cleaning efforts. Well that’s pretty easy to do when you have done nothing in the first place.
The next outbreak doesn’t have to be COVID-19, it could be something more common like the norovirus. You know that virus that infects over 19 million people per year, sends 400,000 kids to the emergency room and shuts down our schools? What is the affected schools’ response after they shut down? Ramp up their cleaning efforts…SMH.
It would be laughable if our kids’ health isn’t at stake.
Why wait for an outbreak or pandemic to take cleanliness seriously? This “heightened” awareness should be sustained to the point where it becomes part of our daily routine, decision making and culture. We owe it to our children to provide them with a healthy environment.
One way to make good on that is to hire more janitors in our schools who are truly responsible for the hygiene of our childrens’ environment, not just taking out the trash.
To all the school janitors and custodians who actually GAF about the safety and health of our students, THANK YOU! I see you!