PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Schools in Providence are receiving deep cleanings in preparation for some form of in-person learning this fall.
There are multiple cleaning methods being used to clean the schools. A touchless cleaning system is being used to disinfect hard surfaces, bathrooms are getting disinfected, desks and chairs sanitized and plexiglass dividers are being installed.
Eyewitness News was at Nathan Bishop Middle School in Providence Tuesdday as the custodial service company contracted with the city, Aramark, cleaned the school.
“The big difference is we are sanitizing every surface this year, as opposed to simply cleaning it,” Resident District Manager of Aramark Rupert Burtan said.
The Providence School District is using a total of $18 million from federal coronavirus relief funding to pay for reopening preparations. Approximately $3.5 million is being used for additional custodial services and $1.5 million is for personal protective equipment (PPE), according to Laura Hart, a spokesperson for Providence Public Schools.
“Aramark is bringing 60 new custodians to the fold so we are going to have a very amped up capacity to do this cleaning because it’s more than what we would normally do,” Hart said.
If and when students return to school, it will be different than what they are used to. For example, lockers will not be used this year in city schools.
“When school opens, we have added temporary positions to our daytime staff,” Burtan said. “There will be constant cleaning of high touch surfaces with disposable wipes and our sanitizer.”
Teachers and students can expect more cleaning and sanitizing throughout the day. Students will also be assigned to groups to limit contact with others.
“We are doing everything we possibly can to make a safe environment,” Hart said.
Gov. Gina Raimondo at her weekly coronavirus briefing on Monday again made the case for in-person learning, as long as the data supports it.
On Aug. 31, Raimondo is expected to announce whether schools can reopen in-person, remotely, or a combination of the two.