A Vermont community is praising two members of its janitorial staff for going above and beyond their typical duties to sanitize the buildings, protecting the students, faculty, and staff from catching the coronavirus.
Allen Brook School and Williston Central School in Williston, VT, were closed this week because a staff member with cold-like symptoms stayed in an out-of-state hotel where coronavirus cases had been confirmed, the Burlington Free Press reported.
The Champlain Valley School District announced last Monday that they would be closed “out of an abundance of caution.”
The school district said in a letter to Williston parents that the staff member was exhibiting cold symptoms and is recovering at home.
“At this time, there is no confirmation that the staff member’s symptoms are connected to the coronavirus outbreak,” the letter said, according to the Free Press.
The district added that both schools, which serve pre-kindergarten through second-grade and third through eighth-grade, would be “fully and completely” disinfected to stay on the safe side.
In a private Facebook group, parents within the district started bouncing ideas off each other on how to honor the janitors for going above and beyond their duties.
“I said that we need to recognize that these staff members who are going into potential contamination and a disaster zone, really, and putting themselves at risk,” parent Brooke Thomas told CNN.
“It’s already an under-appreciated job as it is and not one that gets a lot of respect,” she added. “It was a feel-good way to get people to recognize that and promote kindness when this mass hysteria is happening.”
Thomas created a Facebook fundraiser setting a goal of $200, hoping they could at least raise enough money to buy the janitors lunch. But her fundraiser went viral when donations surpassed $2,000 by the next day.
As of this Monday, the fundraiser raised $7,450 from nearly 250 people in four days.
The two schools resumed their classes on Wednesday, and the employees ended up testing negative for coronavirus.