Manteca Unified classified personnel that would normally work as campus monitors have been augmenting custodial staff to make sure classrooms and other school facilities are cleaned and sanitized on a daily basis as required under COVID-19 protocols for the safety of teachers and others.
When students start coming back to campuses in small groupings possibly as early as mid-September other existing classified workers will be added to the sanitization effort.
“Our custodian crews have been more mindful and more intense with their cleaning efforts since the pandemic started,” noted Manteca Unified Director of Facilities and Operations Aaron Bowers.
Sierra High, as an example, has four campus monitors that have been assigned to assist the six staff custodians with sanitizing and cleaning.
Bowers said deep cleaning is taking place with all frequently touched points that encompass numerous items such as door handles, light switches, sink handles, faucets, bathroom surfaces, tables, student, desks, and chairs to name a few.
Since mid-March when Gov. Gavin Newsom first declared the health emergency, classified staff has agreed to work outside of their job descriptions to work to safeguard school facilities to minimize the potential for COVID-19 to be spread.
The flexibility of classified workers has allowed Manteca Unified to adjust rapidly to changing coronavirus protocols being imposed by county and state health officials.
Their support role in the education process will become more essential than ever before when students are allowed to return to classrooms. Initially, under just issued state guidelines, the first students to return to classes will be part of the most vulnerable groups likely to fall behind in their education. That includes students with disabilities, English learners, homeless students, foster youth that have a high tendency to be moved between families, students at risk for abuse or neglect, and those students that are at a higher risk of further learning loss or not participating in distance learning.
Schools are being limited to 25 percent capacity which is half of what Manteca Unified plans on when they are allowed to move to phase 2 to implement the hybrid model with half of students attending Monday-Tuesday and the other half Thursday-Friday. Also groups of students must number 14 or less and they cannot be assigned to more than two certificated staff.
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