Recognizing Apopka’s Custodians

From health care workers to first responders, valuing these individuals for their dedication to ensuring our safety during the pandemic has become second nature. However, there is another group of frontline workers who are also fighting COVID: 

Our custodians.

Credit: Len Wood Staff, Santa Maria Staff

Unbeknownst to many, these men and women do more than just clean. Our custodians are essentially what keeps our school up and running. Each convenience we take for granted is at the hands of our custodial team– From unlocking all gates and hallway doors, disarming the school, to turning on the lights in each hallway.

One of those unsung heroes is Mr. Daley, a vital part of Apopka High since 2017. 

“We consider ourselves to be the first line of defense against COVID for our students and staff, so we take that responsibility seriously,” he says.

Their typical day begins before we even step foot on campus. Under the supervision of Mr. Lawson, the head of our custodial team, they prepare for the day in their respective areas around 6 a.m. Day custodians, in charge of a particular hallway or area of the school, regularly apply disinfectants to high-touch surfaces like our desks, tables, light switches throughout the day including both A and B lunch. The night crew is tasked with cleaning and disinfecting the entire school and using electrostatic sprayers for infection control when necessary.

“​It is important that we pay closer attention to the details this year,” continues Mr. Daley. 

The 2020-21 school year has been especially challenging due to the pandemic’s demand for cleanliness, yet our custodians are expected to work the same hours as before. Their amount of labor and grind in a typical school day is doubled, but their time frame is cut in half. 

Despite this, our custodians continue to put forth their best efforts to keep everyone as safe as possible, and are committed to do so for the remainder of the year.

One avid observer of this dedication is Mrs. Kelley. Her designated hallway custodian is Mr. Choute. On a typical day he will come into each of his assigned classrooms at least twice to complete his responsibilities such as emptying the trash, sweeping, and disinfecting each table and surface. 

“He is fantastic. He is so nice and pleasant and is always willing to help or do whatever we need. By far one of the best custodians we have had in our hallway,” adds Mrs. Kelley 

Showing appreciation for our custodians can be as simple as saying thank you, recommends Mrs. Kelley. Even “Leaving a nice note or letting their administration know what a great job they are doing.”