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Custodians of NHS Have a Message to Students

In early March 2020, The Maroon and Gray sat down with Nutley High School’s custodians, to talk about some of their responsibilities around the building. Head Custodian Mike Spagnola, with Custodians Anthony Moltedo and Jose Rivera, shared what their daily schedules look like. 

While the students of NHS are expected to arrive in their first class by 8:05 A.M., many custodians arrive at the building by 5:30 A.M. They turn off the alarms, unlock all doors, turn on all the lights, and prepare the building for the students to come in. This process can take up to 45 minutes.


When students leave the building at 2:53 P.M. however, the jobs of the custodians are yet to be over. Around 3:00 P.M. a secondary crew of custodians comes to fulfill the night shift. They have to make sure the bathrooms are cleaned, classrooms are cleaned, doors are locked, and every single light switch is turned off. In addition, Mike Spagnola said, “We wipe down all the door handles, the water fountains, or anything the kids touch with disinfectant wipes. With Coronavirus going around, we wipe down all the desks.”


As NHS holds many after school activities, custodians have to wait until each activity is over before they can go in and clean it. “No sports? We have a normal day, we go home at a normal time. We do our 8 hours and we get to go home. But not usually,” said Mike Spagnola. “Highly unlikely,” added Jose Rivera. Since NHS holds a variety of athletics, clubs, and extracurricular events each day, custodians’ schedules have to adapt to each day. 


Much work the custodians of Nutley High School do to make sure the building is safe, clean, and functional goes unseen to the students. For example, if it snows the night before a school day, custodians will arrive at the building at 3:00 A.M. to make sure students can walk to the building safely. As the Oval and the sidewalk surrounding it are under the property of the school, custodians shovel from New Street all the way to Chestnut Street.


Another responsibility that goes under-appreciated to most students is the work custodians put in during the summer. “Once summer hits and the students leave, we work nonstop. Everything comes out of every classroom, gets wiped down, floors striped. Its a lot of work. We make it clean and safe for when students come back in. We work the entire summer,” said Mike Spagnola.  “The lockers too,” added Anthony Moltedo. “Every lock has to be changed.” After that, each and every locker is dusted and cleaned. According to Mike Spagnola, there are about 1,600 lockers in Nutley High School.


The custodial staff of Nutley High School works extremely long and hard to make sure the building is safe and clean. However, they wish that more students would understand and appreciate the work they do. “They just see us as a custodian, you know?” said Mike Spagnola. “We’re just like everyone else.” Often, custodians have faced situations where students have refused to clean up after themselves, as they believe it “isn’t their job”. Their message to students is simple; “just respect your school.”


So the next time you see a custodian, thank them all the hard work they do to make our school clean, safe, and beautiful.