Class cleaning with broom

As a bus driver for over 22 years for Wyoming Public Schools, no school year has been quite like 2020 for Sue Hubscher. Typically there’s enough students, routes, field trips and additional school activities to keep her workday full, but the pandemic has understandably limited those activities. With these extra hours in the day, however, Solkolski and five other bus drivers for the district have stepped up in a different way — serving as daytime custodians for the district’s West Elementary School, reports School News Network.

With elevated cleaning demands, the school will take all the help it can get. According to Matt Lewis, assistant superintendent for finance & administrative services for the district, roughly $350,000 of funds received federally have been dedicated to additional custodial supplies and staffing to keep COVID-19 at bay. Yet even with the added budget, extra staffing was essential beyond the 22-member fulltime staff hired by the district.

Between the help needed by the district and the hours to fill from the bus drivers, a perfect fit was found. Two to three times a week, Hubscher works a 9AM-1PM shift at West Elementary School in between bus routes disinfecting high-touchpoint areas and emptying trash to minimize the potential spread of the virus.

In addition to having more chance to interact with students she meets on the bus, the opportunity to day-clean also gives Hubscher sufficient hours for health insurance qualification.

“I think I go around the school at least 20 times a day,” says Hubscher. “I like being with the kids and I have good patience.”

Having the drivers provide the extra help is emblematic of the camaraderie required to overcoming the challenges of the pandemic, notes West Elementary specials teacher Laurie Muttner.

“We really appreciate them. They are doing a fabulous job. Our numbers of COVID have been down and controlled. I think we are doing good work here,” she says.

Schools across the country have been ramping up cleaning frequencies to keep pace with the threat of the pandemic. Read more about how overlooked areas of schools can lead to problems — such as uncleaned floor drains — here.