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The clean team

26 May 2020

The unsung heroes in many an institution are the people who work behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly – the cleaners, maintenance and grounds teams who keep everything shipshape and ticking along. College as a school was temporarily closed but, as Custodian Margaret Lawson and Maintenance Manager Mike Tovey explain, the campus still needed to be monitored and maintained, and Margaret continued her daily rounds, checking the site, buildings, plant and equipment.

“College is a kind of village – permanent residents include housemasters, matrons and tutors living on site, plus staff accommodation in the block opposite the campus – and the village was still operating,” says Margaret. “It was very, very different, very quiet, with hardly anyone around, but the College community held together and looked out for each other.”

“Margaret’s pivotal as the eyes and ears of the place, and for liaising with contractors as needed,” says Mike, who was always available at the end of the phone.

The grounds and maintenance team and cleaners were all back on site at alert level 3.

“They were champing at the bit to get back,” says Mike. “Working as a team, but working as individuals. Managing physical distancing requirements by working in isolation on separate projects. The grounds needed a lot of tlc and the whole school had a deep clean ahead of the boys coming back.”

More than 70 disinfectant spray bottles had to be filled and, along with wipes, hand sanitiser and tissues, distributed to every classroom and office on campus – and, even as the alert levels relax further, they believe there needs to be an ongoing focus on handwashing and safe hygiene practices for the good of public health.

“Sanitisers will be around for a long time. We need to be vigilant, to wash and sanitise, and form new habits. We’ve always had that sort of stuff available, but now it’s a focus,” says Margaret.

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