‘Unsung heroes:’ School custodians battle to keep kids safe from COVID-19

“They have been a huge part of keeping us healthy here at Jasper and everywhere,” Jasper ISD Superintendent John Seybold said.

‘Unsung heroes:’ School custodians battle to keep kids safe from COVID-19
Custodian Kent Jackson uses an electrostatic sprayer to disinfect the Jasper High School Cafeteria. (Source: KTRE)

JASPER, Texas (KTRE) - With cleaning and disinfecting heightened since the pandemic started, it’s added more duties and tasks for housekeepers and janitors.

“First thing in the building every morning and working hard,” Kent Jackson said.

And many days, they are the last to leave. Custodians Kent Jackson and Donald Johnson have worked for Jasper ISD around 30 years each, but they say this school year is unlike any other.

“It’s been a really rough challenge,” Johnson said. “From the smaller campuses to the larger campuses, with the less people we have now, but we are able to manage it.”

Many custodians find themselves on the frontlines battling to keep areas free of COVID-19.

“If someone gets sick, we’re right on the scene, spraying the school down,” Johnson said. “It’s really a test for us, but we’re able to manage it.”

“You see this backpack thing; we’re spraying like crazy,” Jackson said. “We’re spraying, mopping and wiping down everything, just continuing all day long.”

“We use our electrostatic sprayers to disinfect every single room, every single building, every single bus, every single day we have students and staff on campus,” Superintendent John Seybold said.

Seybold says the hard work of the housekeeping staff is appreciated.

“They have been a huge part of keeping us healthy here at Jasper and everywhere,” he said. “They’re unsung heroes during this time and all the time.”

These heroes are putting their needs aside for others.

“I’m in this because I love the kids,” Johnson said. “We really love our kids here at Jasper. We want them to do well at school and not worry about this COVID.”

“I have four grandkids, and I want to make sure they stay safe and me stay safe,” Jackson said. “They’re in the Spring school district but I’m here for these kids and hope my grandkids are getting the same treatment these kids are getting.”

Jasper ISD students and staff returned to in-person learning today for the first time this year. District officials say after a spike in COVID-19 cases in Jasper County at the beginning of the year, out of an abundance of caution, they opted for virtual learning for the first two weeks of 2021. County officials say that active count has started to trend downward.

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