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School custodians in short, but not critical, supply

Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 10:05 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - It’s all hands on desk for school districts around the Lowcountry as a number of schools have gone virtual because of staffing shortages and that includes support staff like custodians.

While a school could go completely virtual because of a lack of custodians, Charleston County School District officials says it’s unlikely because of how they staff the janitorial crew.

The district contracts with three different companies to provide cleaning services for the schools and those companies will distribute their available workforce as needed to cover vacancies. Director of Communications Andy Pruitt says those companies are using staff that might not normally do the cleaning, like managers to help fill in when employees are absent.

Pruitt says there has been a dip in the number of hours filled by the contractors this month from last month, but he says they are still getting the work done. He says the current situation a not ideal but is not an emergency.

“We have a process in place when it comes to our covid protocols related to fogging the building, a fifth of the building each day. We are still doing that,” Pruitt said. “So building are still being cleaned despite fewer numbers and fewer hours being filled by the contracted custodial staff.”

Pruitt says contractors are currently filling 87 of 100 hours this month, down three percent from last month.

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