"I know I'm doing my best and making sure my ends meet so that everyone can come to work knowing that this is a safe place to be."
- And as schools across the Bay Area return to in-person learning, COVID-19 protocols are on the forefront for the staff. ABC-7 News reporter, Dustin Dorsey, shows you how a South Bay custodian is doing all that he can possibly do to create a safe and healthy environment for his work family.
DUSTIN DORSEY: When the coronavirus pandemic began, the once-busy campuses of elementary schools like Frost in San Jose emptied. Everyone moved to virtual learning. Well, everyone except custodian Ben Moreno.
Have you stopped working since this whole thing began?
BENJAMIN MORENO: Nope. It's nonstop.
DUSTIN DORSEY: The work of an elementary school custodian often goes unnoticed. The Frost staff calls him the unsung hero of the school. But he says his work now is more important than ever, to protect the students he cares so much about.
BENJAMIN MORENO: I think every single custodian we have in the district is very, very, very important. And I do believe that. I think we are all heroes. I don't have any children, but I know if I did have a kid, I would want to make sure that they were going to a school that was just clean and safe and ready to go and learn.
DUSTIN DORSEY: That requires constant work, oftentimes all by himself, while the school day goes on, from the deep sanitization of classroom surfaces for teachers still teaching from the building, to the assembly of protective shields.
BENJAMIN MORENO: These shields are going to be on every student desk and also the teacher's desk. I do feel like this is my family. I understand where the parents are coming from when it comes to having thoughts here and there about, is it safe or is it not safe. What I really have to say about that is I know that I'm doing my best, and making sure that my ends meet, so that everybody can come to work knowing that this is a safe place to be.
DUSTIN DORSEY: Frost Elementary and the entire Oak Grove School District will return to safe and hygienic in-person learning, thanks to custodians like Ben, with TK through first grades returning April 26, second through third grades returning on May 3, and the rest of the grades returning on May 10. In San Jose, Dustin Dorsey, ABC 7 News.