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Custodial personnel continue to do their part in schools across the U.S. to ensure students can learn in-person without worry of COVID-19

It’s been a rough year, nobody can deny that. But with the end in sight, it’s a time to look back on how far we’ve all come.

We wouldn’t have come this far if not for essential workers who keep the public healthy, and try to keep places safe from the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the phrase “essential worker,” many think of the doc­tors and nurses in hospitals who have risked their lives to help those who are sick, in need or have the virus. They put their lives on the line every day.

Other essential workers include grocery workers, pharmaceutical workers, police officers and more; however, custodians seemed to be left out of the list when it comes down to it.

Without the help of custodians, a lot of businesses would be shut down and workers would be out of a job. Especially here on IUP’s campus, custodians are needed to keep everybody safe.

As someone who comes to campus roughly twice a week, I don’t really get to see them much. I notice the cleaning, the safety precautions and measures they’re doing to keep us safe and the care that they put into their work. But they hide in the shadows, or they go unnoticed.

I’ve started noticing the work our custodians do more frequent­ly than I did before a pandemic hit. Yes, they cleaned our class­rooms and restrooms, and I tried to greet them in hallways before, but I’ve been doing it more lately. They put in the long hours and hard work to make places safe.

Not only are the custodians at IUP working hard to keep the faculty and students safe during the pandemic, but the custodians elsewhere are also working hard. There are businesses that need constant cleaning and disinfect­ing.

There are custodians who work in hospitals who may be exposed to COVID-19 every day, but they go to work to keep the hospital safe for the doctors, nurses and patients.

There are a lot of essential workers who are not able to work safely from home, not just doc­tors. Custodians put themselves at risk every day as well by keep­ing places safe for others. Those at IUP are hard at work constantly wiping down railings on stairways, disinfecting door handles and keeping campus healthy.

IUP has done a good job keep­ing the virus at bay. While we’ve had several students infected, in isolation and who have recovered, the custodians have done their best to disinfect and keep campus safe.

When we see a classroom clean or go to a restroom, it doesn’t occur to most of us that another person is the one keeping it clean for us. I’ve noticed many people that, if they miss a trash can, they don’t pick up the scrap of paper or paper towel; they leave it for the custodian or janitor to get when they clean.

Not only is this disrespectful, but they’re also not there to clean up after us. Custodians are there to keep buildings and rooms clean and healthy for us, which is most important while a pandemic is going on.

This Christmas, and year-round, remember those who work hard to keep you safe and healthy despite challenging times.

Thank you to everyone who keeps IUP a safe place.

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