From schools and college campuses to office buildings and healthcare facilities, custodians are on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic ensuring all areas are cleaned, sanitized and disinfected. Day in and day out, they show up to work to keep environments clean and safe. As the world continues to battle COVID-19, it is critical to recognize the hard work that custodians do and the importance of maintaining cleanliness in facilities.
A National Treasure
For the last seven years, Cintas Corporation has honored the best-of-the-best among school custodians with its annual Cintas Custodian of the Year contest. This campaign was created to shine a spotlight on hardworking custodians and give them the recognition they deserve.
On April 27, Cintas Corporation crowned Howell Beasley of Albertville Kindergarten & Pre-K the 2020 Cintas Custodian of the Year. Howell received a cash prize of $10,000 and the school received $5,000 in cleaning products and services. He will also benefit from a comprehensive training and development package from ISSA, The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association, valued at $20,000.
Due to the extenuating circumstances, Albertville Kindergarten & Pre-K had to find creative alternatives to celebrate Howell’s win. Instead of inviting the entire school to a surprise assembly, the principal and superintendent met with Howell at the school and announced the news to staff via video conferencing. The principal also coordinated a surprise social distance parade for Howell and invited all students and parents to drive by to give their congratulations.
Offering Essential Support
During the pandemic, many custodians are working up to eight hours a day to ensure that high–touch surfaces such as desks, light switches, handrails and even walls in schools and other facilities are properly cleaned. In some cases, custodians are transcending their job description of maintaining cleanliness.
According to the Montreal Gazette, a custodian at a senior living facility has been offering his personal cell phone for FaceTime sessions so a mother and daughter can stay in touch. He then took over cooking duties when the head chef became ill with COVID-19.
Another custodian is finding happiness by protecting the vulnerable in New York’s Bellevue Hospital. He’s the first to sign on for full shifts on his day off and when he is working, he’s often skipping his breaks so he can continue to keep the facility clean and do his part to protect essential workers.
Thank a Custodian Today
Custodians are typically the unsung heroes of their facilities, working behind the scenes to protect others. As the pandemic stretches on, conversations around cleaning are increasing and their essential work is being noticed. In Nashville, doctors at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center raised nearly $7,000 within 48 hours for janitorial and custodial staff.
Meanwhile, a Vermont community rallied behind its school district’s custodial staff as they completed a two-day cleaning spree to sanitize every building. A GoFundMe campaign surpassed $7,000 in just four days.
When the world overcomes coronavirus and people are able to return to schools, offices and other facilities, remember that it wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of the custodial team. They’ve taken on new duties and worked tirelessly to keep building occupants and visitors safe, which is why it’s important to recognize custodians not only during the pandemic, but every day.
Jessie Koerner is a Senior Account Executive in Mulberry’s Chicago office with a deep passion for media relations and content creation for numerous B2B clients.