With Custodial Shortage, Who Keeps School Clean During COVID?

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Who Cleans Up Triton


Sage W

Juniors Colin Webber, Sam Mollineaux and Sam O’Shea eat lunch in front of the area blocked off from students to prevent further destruction to the area

From before the doors are unlocked in the morning until after students have gone home for the day, the custodial staff is doing everything they can to maintain a clean and safe environment for Triton students and staff. The maintenance personnel at Triton has been stretched even thinner this school year due to a lack of employees available locally and nationally. Head custodian Ryan Collins and other faculty gave the Triton Voice insight into the experiences of the staff working hard to keep Triton a clean and healthy place, and how students and staff can improve things around the school.

Now more than ever, it’s essential that students and staff are receptive to the requests of the people who work to maintain a clean school for students at Triton. 

“This year is one of a kind,” said head custodian at Triton Ryan Collins, referencing the issues regarding excessive destruction and misbehavior within the school. 

“This is the worst year so far out of my 13 years, just total disrespect for the building, also the whole staff.” The nation as a whole faces a struggle in finding people to work, and the issue has managed to reach Triton. 

“Every school in the district is down on custodians,” said Collins. “No one’s applying for the position.” Regarding the maintenance process in the bathrooms lately, Collins said that the staff will “try to keep them clean but at this point, you can’t, you go in and clean it but 2 seconds later it’s the same thing.”

“We need to create an atmosphere of respect for our school.””

— Ella Thompson

When asked what members of the Triton community can do to help fix the issue and make the custodian’s jobs easier, Collins replied that students must begin holding each other accountable if they want a clean school, with the authority to do so being mostly in the hands of upperclassmen.

“I think we’re so out of touch with who cleans up after us that we’ve become desensitized to making the janitor’s jobs harder,” said senior Ella Thompson. “We need to create an atmosphere of respect for our school.”

The program coordinator for the arts program at Triton, Sue Densmore, explained how students dumping lunches under the bleachers in the gym has caused severe damage to the sound system. This happened recently, as many students still eat lunch in the gym, as they have for the past year. “Our custodians work really hard to keep this building looking good and in good working order,” said Ms. Densmore. “The idea that we can’t do our part by simply throwing away our trash is reprehensible.” “These are good people,” said Densmore, referring to the custodial staff at Triton, “And they deserve our support.”