Concept of old phone keypad buttons for calling school staff

Schools custodians have been one of the many heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic -- and for good reason. Their difficult front-line role makes them the buffer between infected objects and people. One could argue that those they help most, children, are society's greatest asset. 

The fanfare custodians have gotten due to their impact on the world over the past year is a welcome change from the history of thanklessness surrounding the job. It's fair to wonder if custodians will once again be relegated to the shadows surrounding the spotlight once the pandemic finally ends. If that's the case (or even if it isn't) employers would do well to be there for their custodians.

According to Healthy Green Schools & College, the time is now to prop up school custodians to a position worthy of them. The nonprofit suggests schools, universities and employees of custodians provide this lift by carrying out the following programs and acts.

1. Set a staff appreciation day where custodians can be thanked. In the past, these events might have included a lunch of pizza and soft drinks, but the present situation isn't conducive to a shared meal. Instead, consider providing catered boxed lunches.

2. When possible, grant these workers paid time off so they relax and refocus before returning to their increasingly stressful job.

3. Research the possibility of providing these workers with hazard pay. In some situations, schools and universities can get their custodians these benefits through state government-backed grants.

Want more tips? Read the rest of Healthy Green Schools & College's blog post here.