In the midst of school closures, Daviess County Public Schools has reassigned the 160 bus drivers and monitors to help with other tasks throughout the district.

Some of those individuals have been helping custodial staff members in schools, while others are assisting the maintenance department with painting and other odd jobs. Some are also helping to deliver the non-traditional instruction packets to areas of the county where families are unable to retrieve them. Others have been working with the food service department to deliver meals.

Downey Ward, DCPS director of transportation, said the department also provided those who needed the time off to take it. He said this downtime has also been helpful for drivers to catch up on paperwork that can sometimes be difficult to get to during a typical week.

“By far and large most of the people in the district would be out there helping the community anyway in times like this,” Ward said. “That’s the type of people that are attracted to this kind of work. For the most part, they were more than happy to help out at the different schools.”

David Shutt, DCPS director of maintenance, said that this extra help has been a blessing for the custodial staff. While students and educators have been out of buildings, it has been a great opportunity to do what Shutt called a deep cleaning.

It’s the kind of cleaning that ordinarily would take place when students break from school in the summer.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic is a “terrible situation by anybody’s imagination,” but the district is leveraging the opportunity to clean as much of the school buildings as possible.

“Essentially we are cleaning the buildings from the ceiling to the floor,” he said, adding that custodians sanitize daily, but with more workers they can do more and quicker. “We are cleaning every surface, every door, common touch areas. It’s the kind of cleaning that would sometimes take a whole summer.”

He said seeing everyone across the district pitch in to help through this difficult time has been a silver lining in all of the chaos.

“I’m really proud of all our staff for stepping up,” Shutt said. “This is an unusual circumstance. I’m always amazed by their dedication. They truly do put kids first.”

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

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