December 16, 2020
As COVID-19 positivity rates surpassed the acceptable 15% threshold, the ICCSD announced all students would transition to the online learning model, effective Monday, Dec. 9. Unfortunately, the district had already paid for school buildings’ heating and electricity costs for the next period, and without students or staff in the building for the next two weeks, thousands of dollars would go to waste.
“We really didn’t expect this to happen,” said Superintendent Matt Degner. “I mean, how could we have known we would have to go online this winter?”
To make the building regulation costs worthwhile, the district decided to offer custodians a complimentary stay in their respective buildings for the two-week period.
“We wanted them to have a bit of fun, you know?” Degner said. “After all, with the pandemic, sanitation standards are higher than they were before. They deserve a fun break from the stress.”
After discussion amongst Degner and his colleagues, custodians were granted full access to all building amenities, so long as they wore a mask and socially distanced while inside. With the suspension of hybrid classes, many West High custodians are not sure what to do with all of their newfound free time.
“I don’t know what I’ll do first,” said custodian Janet Orr. “Maybe use the secret trampoline room in the gym? I’ve been eyeing it since I started working here.”
While some custodians are using their two-week vacation to explore West High’s facilities, others are using it to pursue their passions. The five-member theatre troupe “Just Clean It!” is allegedly putting on a production of “The Crucible” the weekend before school resumes, and one custodian will play the piano during intermission.
Overall, Degner and his team view this initiative as beneficial for their custodial staff and hope that it will act as a vacation from pandemic-related stress.
“I wish we had these breaks more often. There is so much fun stuff to do at West,” said custodian Walter White. “Just don’t ask me what I’ll be doing in the chemistry rooms.”