You might just call CPS' facilities team "the secret superheroes" behind safely bringing students back into school buildings. Ask Chief Strategy Officer Sarah Trimble-Oliver. She would agree.
While the students were in the distance-learning model, team members took advantage of the extra time. They completed an intensive training program, brushing up on their knowledge in several areas including HVAC, new sanitizing equipment and various custodial tips and tricks.
"They had to revise all their cleaning and disinfecting procedures," Trimble-Oliver shares. "I am really proud of them for stepping up to help promote safety."
"In the early planning phases, we helped schools set up their classrooms to enforce social distancing," says Facilities Director Robin Brandon. "This included removing 50 percent of classroom furniture."
Custodians disinfect high-touch areas frequently, including during teacher plan bells, lunch and after school. They also clean and disinfect conference rooms after meetings, as well as restrooms, playgrounds, nurses' offices, etc., as determined by each school.
"Our team is responsible for cleaning and sanitizing all CPS properties, which is made up of over 6,646,000 square feet," points out Brandon. "Our glazier shop has designed, fabricated and installed over 450 plexiglass barriers. Our plumbing team has installed over 95 water bottle filling stations. We designed and installed safety, hand washing and distancing signage in all CPS buildings and distributed 250,000 masks."
Outside each classroom, custodians use checklists to document each time an area is disinfected.
When a positive COVID case is reported in a building, the team sprays down surfaces with a special disinfecting machine and changes out air filters, among many other procedures.
"It's all about being better at their jobs," says Trimble-Oliver. "The facilities team really has been a secret superhero behind all of this."
"I am so proud of our entire team," shares Brandon. "From our custodial staff to our administrative team. We have had so many challenges to overcome this past year. The team has accomplished so much, in addition to maintaining quality core services to the schools."