Who is involved when it comes to deciding what work gets done over the summer and how it impacts budgets?

Ames — Principals, facilities services, maintenance services and budget all impact what work can be done. Some projects take more than one summer to complete. We start meeting in the fall to identify schools that will be having major summer projects. This helps us to relocate programs to other schools.

Bartolone — We are mindful of the overtime budget and meet monthly with our business agents to monitor expenses.

Fewell — In deciding what projects get done during the summer, we have a schedule for the buildings. However, we speak with our building liaisons to find out which areas within the buildings are their biggest concern as far as cleaning.

Krause — At the college/university level, involvement comes from department directors, residence life (especially live-in staff), summer conference staff, campus partners and contractors.

Martinez — In the elementary and middle schools, it is always best to coordinate with the principal, community education coordinator and the teachers who are running the summer school. You need to coordinate so they don’t interfere with project work and it doesn’t disturb their programs. High school involves principals, summer school, coaches, maintenance foreman, grounds crew and the athletic director. Budgets are impacted if we need to do special projects take materials such as more equipment, product and staffing. If we can’t schedule around the regular work week to get certain projects done, we may have to pay our staff overtime to come in on weekends or to work longer shifts. This is more cost effective then contracting out projects.

Murphy — The person that decides what is done during summer cleaning is the Head Custodian. They are personally in charge and responsible for the building. If the Head Custodian isn't doing what they need to do, the principal will typically get involved.

VanMaldeghem — At RIT, the entire community generally becomes involved. Faculty, staff, student organizations, facility managers and technicians all have input into what needs to be completed. This all comes down to superior organization skills in order to accomplish all the requests.

How do cleaning processes/frequencies change over summer, compared to months when class is in session?

Ames — Our cleaning processes change over the summer. We work 10-hour day shift. We have schools that because of instructional programs require us to clean in the evening and nights. Rooms aren’t dusted or disinfected nightly and 10-Month custodians complete this task when they return to work.

Bartolone — Because it is somewhat slower during the summer, we are able to shift our resources to more project work.

Fewell — During the summer, some classrooms and labs are not used. Once they have been cleaned properly and sanitized, we simply check them daily to make sure they stay that way.

Krause — We clean resident rooms repeatedly throughout the summer whereas during the academic year, we don’t clean resident rooms. There is much more in-depth cleaning of spaces taking place.

Martinez — The changes of cleaning processes in summer compared to the school year is during the summer most classrooms, offices and restrooms are not being used on a daily bases, so you don’ t have to go through a daily routine like you do in during the school year. The only classrooms and restrooms you clean daily in the summer are the summer school classrooms and the restrooms that they use. In the past we didn’t clean or buff halls, clean restrooms or all the other routine cleaning you did throughout the school year, now we train our staff one day a week they are to clean restrooms (even the ones not being used) mop an buff halls, clean stairs and clean the outside, the reason for the change is that in the past we had very few summer programs, now we have more activities and more people coming in and out of our buildings we want them to look presentable to the public.

Murphy — Cleaning techniques do change because in the summer we actually have time to deep clean everything, top to bottom. Whereas in the school year, we can’t deep clean like that because it takes too much time and there are occupants in the building all day. The school year just doesn’t allow us to deep clean certain areas.

VanMaldeghem — When classes are in session, there is a sense of normalcy.  Most cleaning tasks are repetitious and repeatable on a daily basis.  During the summer, staff may have no idea as to what task they will be performing.  Additionally, we provide opportunities for staff to work a 10 hour – 4 day work week during the summer months.  This has some effects on the over productivity and stamina of staff.  Working a 10 hour day on a hot summer day is more exhaustive than working an 8 hour day during the remainder of the year, especially when you add into the mix the laborious tasks of the restorative projects verses daily cleaning tasks.
Most of my staff feels a sense of relief once classes begin in the fall, as they are able to get back into the normal routine of maintaining their assigned areas and servicing those customers that they have come to know well.


Larry Ames
Director of Custodial Services
Virginia Beach City Public Schools
Virginia Beach, Virginia

Christopher Bartolone
Assistant Director for Facilities Services
Marquette University
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Virgie Fewell
Grigg Zone Supervisor of Building Environmental Services and Recycling
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Charlotte, North Carolina

Jodi Krause
Assistant Director Housekeeping
Residence Hall Facilities — University Housing
University of Wisconsin — Madison
Madison, Wisconsin

Ricky Martinez
Assistant Custodial Supervisor
Salt Lake City School District
Salt Lake City, Utah

Mycka Murphy
Custodial and IPM Coordinator
Certified Custodial Technician Trainer
Granite School District
West Valley City, Utah

Chuck VanMaldeghem
Building Services Supervisor
Facility Management Services
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, New York

previous page of this article:
Misconceptions Of Cleaning Schools Over Summer Break
next page of this article:
Adjusting To Staffing And Cleaning Challenges