There is a group of people in our schools who usually go unrecognised and often unseen. They are our school cleaners.
During the recent bushfires, many of our school cleaning staff were asked to come in during the break to clean our schools. The soot and ash left a film over all surfaces, both inside and out. When wet, it was more like sludge. Yet, we all came back to clean schools.
Then, there were the floods. Schools again needed to be cleaned. Let’s not forget about the dust storms, which left dust in inaccessible places. After that, hailstorms! More cleaning to be done.
Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic. During all this time our cleaners have been working, week in week out, for they are deemed essential workers. No option to work from home for them. While we’re all feeling a bit weary from the anxiety of the year so far, our cleaners have worked through without a break.
Cleaners are the first line of defence in keeping our schools safe and the core element to the successful return of students and staff to schools. “Deep cleaning” has become a new phrase in their lives. Our school cleaners are responsible for disinfecting and scrubbing the areas and surfaces that can host the virus. In cleaning away dangerous germs they risk infection themselves. Yet they go unnoticed and receive little thanks for this.
Let’s offer our thanks – loudly and frequently – for all their work in keeping us safe. And don’t go criticising them if a window ledge has a little dust on it!
Thank you alone is insufficient for our schools’ most undervalued and often underpaid workers. It’s time to show our gratitude to those we should value in our society and how we treat them.
Thank Your Cleaner Day - 21 October 2020
We cannot afford to become complacent, so please play your part by reminding each other about observing the 1.5 metres social distancing between adults.