Vermont community raises tip for janitors who sanitized schools amid coronavirus fears

The janitorial staff at two Vermont schools are being praised - and getting a sizable tip - for going "well above and beyond their typical call of duty" to sanitize the buildings to protect students against the novel coronavirus.

The two schools – Allen Brook School and Williston Central School in Williston – were closed earlier this week because a staffer with cold-like symptoms had stayed at an out-of-state hotel where cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed, the Burlington Free Press reported this week.

The Champlain Valley School District said Monday they were closed “out of an abundance of caution.”

Allen Brook School in Williston, Vermont briefly closed its doors amid coronavirus fears after a staff member presented cold-like symptoms after a stay at an out-of-state hotel that had confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Allen Brook School in Williston, Vermont briefly closed its doors amid coronavirus fears after a staff member presented cold-like symptoms after a stay at an out-of-state hotel that had confirmed cases of coronavirus. (Google Maps)

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Schools around the country have taken similar precautions this week amid the growing concerns of the coronavirus – officially known as COVID-19 – which was declared Wednesday a “pandemic” by the World Health Organization.

The United States has seen more than 1,300 confirmed cases in 44 states plus Washington, D.C. , with at least 36 deaths, as of Thursday morning.

Vermont has seen two cases so far.

In a letter sent to Williston parents, the school district said the staff member self-quarantined at home and has cold symptoms.

“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.

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The school district said the two schools – which house prekindergarten through second grade and third grade through eighth grade – would be “fully and completely” disinfected as a preventive measure.

The janitorial staff at Williston Central School and Allen Brook School are praised for going 'well above and beyond their typical call of duty' to disinfect the schools amid coronavirus fears.

The janitorial staff at Williston Central School and Allen Brook School are praised for going 'well above and beyond their typical call of duty' to disinfect the schools amid coronavirus fears. (Google Maps)

Parents – wanting to thank and acknowledge the additional work by the schools’ janitorial staff – set up a fundraising campaign that raised more than $6,300 for the workers, the newspaper reported.

The money is “an expression of gratitude for the janitorial staff at the schools to thank them for their engagement in the proactive approach to protecting our children,” the statement from the fundraisers read, according to the Free Press.

Cleaners were “going well above and beyond their typical call of duty,” they added.

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The two schools resumed classes on Wednesday.