Custodians work through winter break to deep clean Bismarck schools

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Bismarck Public School students returned to school on Thursday, but the buildings weren't empty over the Christmas break.

Maintenance staff take advantage of the holiday break to do projects that are easier to get done when class isn't in session.

A classroom at Solheim Elementary School is one of the last spaces to be polished up after the Christmas break.

"There's always something to be fixed every day," said Gary Koppinger, custodial supervisor at Solheim.

Koppinger says they have 28 rooms and 20 bathrooms to maintain.

The custodial staff doesn't just clean carpets, change light bulbs, and dust surfaces, they also disinfect any surfaces a student might touch.

"If they're sick they're not learning. So our goal is to make sure we stay on top of it," said Trevor Ell, custodial supervisor for Bismarck Public Schools.

It takes team work to get all the classrooms in this school cleaned over the Christmas break.

"We'll roll into a classroom and everybody has something they're really good at, or one person be vacuuming or extracting or cleaning the lights, or vacuuming," said Koppinger.

It takes about 30 minutes to get done cleaning one classroom. Then the staff moves onto other projects that can be complete with lots of students in the building.

The custodial staff at Solheim got half-a-day off on Christmas Eve and all day Christmas Day. Otherwise, they were hard at work in the classrooms.