Without extra manpower, custodians wonder how NYC schools will be cleaned when they reopen

The men and women who are responsible for cleaning and sterilizing the 1,800 school buildings in the nation’s largest school district every day are saying they are concerned that the process of trying to sterilize and disinfect buildings each day once school reopens in September is virtually impossible.

Robert Troeller, President of Local 891, the union of the custodial supervisors, says that the amount of extra work custodians are being asked to do is only possible with more manpower.

“Clean every desk, normally we’d only clean the desk once a year in the summertime, now they want us to clean the desk every night. In addition to that they want us to sanitize after we clean, every night,” Troeller said. “The budget we received this year for manpower is the exact same budget we received last year, and they expect us to do a whole lot more work with the staff that we have. And that’s not possible.”

FOX 5 NY reached out to the New York City Department of Education to find out if funding will be increased.

“We began purchasing large orders of hand sanitizing stations and electrostatic sprayers in March, and we will be releasing specific cleaning protocols based on feedback from our custodial labor partners and evolving health guidance before schools reopen,” the Department of Education said in a statement.

Custodians at New York City’s schools are due for a contractual raise in January. According to Troeller, the current DoE funding doesn’t leave room for that either.

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