Providence Schools receive deep cleaning ahead of school year

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Ahead of the school year, the Providence Public School District is deep cleaning all 43 of its schools.

“We’re doing deep cleaning and we’re also working on improving some ventilation,” said Laura Hart, a spokeswoman for the district. “We’re doing different things without HVAC systems to get fresh air in more frequently.”

The district has spent approximately $18 million preparing for the return of students and staff. $1.5 million has already been spent on hand sanitizer and other PPE, while and additional $3.5 million has been spent on extra custodians.

An additional 60 custodians will be employed throughout the year, cleaning high-touch surface areas like doorknobs, light switches, and hand railings regularly, while deep cleaning each school every night.

“The big addition to this year is the sanitization process,” said Rupert Burtan of Aramark services, the company employed by the district to clean. “Every surface in the district is being sanitized instead of just cleaned.”

Students in Providence will not be utilizing lockers this year. In addition, lunchtime will be held in classrooms as opposed to the cafeteria.

There will also be a new protocol for drop-off and pick-up.

“Whether you’re taking a bus or walking into school, [students] will give teachers a ‘thumbs up’ if they feel okay, or a ‘thumbs down’ if they don’t,” said Hart.

“We’re asking everybody who brings their child to school or to the bus stop to stick around, because if a child gives a ‘thumbs down,’ we can’t let them get on that bus,” explained Hart.

Students grades K-5 will start in-person learning on September 14 in Providence.

The district hopes grades 6-12 can begin an alternating schedule in October, so that they are in-person at least part-time.

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2020
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