On the rare occasion that Houston temperatures drop to freezing, it’s not just people who may struggle to get going in the morning. HISD schools and buses need extra time to warm up, too.
But for every cozy classroom or bus ride, there is a team that has braved the weather in the dark and early morning hours to make learning environments comfy and safe for students’ arrival.
They are the cold-start crews – the ones who are called in when temperatures drop to 32 degrees and below.
you follow Eliot Elementary School Plant Operator Irma Martinez along on her
new cleaning route, you’ll see her clean and disinfect the school from
wall-to-wall — figuratively and literally.
part of her new duties, Martinez is required to clean and sanitize restrooms
and high touch surfaces every hour. It includes walls, door handles, light
switches, faucets, cafeteria tables, and anything else young students may touch
that could harbor viruses.
“I try to help the students as fast as I can,” Martinez said. “That’s why I don’t work by myself. I work with my team.”
From the moment a severe storm is predicted to make landfall
along the Texas Gulf Coast, Facilities,
Maintenance, and Operations staff are among the first to spring into action.
Crews place sandbags around flood-prone campuses. Generators are checked and
filled with fuel. Pump systems are inspected to make sure they are operational.
“As long as we don’t have a power outage
in the area, the pumps should carry all the water that could cause more damage
down the road,” said North Maintenance Plumbing Team Lead Kenneth Wesley,
who oversees the dispatch of plumbers to campuses when faced with a severe weather
HISD plant operator at Field Elementary, Maria Santana has always worked hard
to keep her school clean and safe. When students return to campus on Oct. 19,
she’ll work even harder to do so.
As part of enhanced cleaning procedures, HISD custodians are required to target high touch surfaces every hour. This includes continuous sanitization of sink faucets, handrails, and desks using a host of cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting methods on an hourly, daily, weekly, and even emergency basis.
how to clean,” Santana said. “But now it’s going to be about the details.
Hitting those high touch areas like doorknobs.”