Here's how South Bay school custodian is ensuring safe return for students, staff

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Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Here's how SJ custodian is ensuring safe return for students, staff
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From Frost Elementary School, custodian Ben Moreno has been working since the pandemic began to clean his campus. Now, his work shifts to creating a safe environment for a return to in-person learning in San Jose.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- As schools across the Bay Area return to in-person learning, COVID-19 health and safety protocols are at the forefront of focus for staff.

We spent the day with a South Bay custodian who is doing all he can to create a safe and healthy environment for his work family.

RELATED: South Bay teacher documents 1st day back in class for in-person learning

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.

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.

"I think every single custodian that we have in the district is very important and I do believe that we are heroes," Moreno said. "I don't have any children, but if I did have a kid I would want to make sure that they are going to a school that is clean, safe and ready to go learn."

That requires constant work, oftentimes all by himself, while the school day goes on.

From deep sanitization of classroom surfaces for teachers still teaching on campus to the assembly of protective shields.

The desks will be properly distanced and each student and teacher will have the shields on their desk to help with safety. An important step for Moreno to ensure the school is safe.

RELATED: San Jose elementary school teachers share distance learning struggles ahead of receiving COVID-19 vaccine

"I do feel like this is my family," Moreno said. "I understand where the parents are coming from when having thoughts here and there about if it's safe or not safe. All I have to say about that is 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."

Frost Elementary and the entire Oak Grove School district will return to safe and hygienic in-person learning thanks to custodians like Ben Moreno.

TK-first grades will return April 26, 2nd through 3rd grades return on May 3 and the rest of the grades return on May 10.

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