Custodian Shortage: Effects On School Grounds


Trash here, trash there, but who will we have to clean it up if there’s no one to work as a custodian?

Chelsea High School has been low on custodians for a while now, but this year students are noticing tables haven’t been getting wiped down and floors haven’t been getting mopped up. A custodian’s work is difficult and physically demanding and after COVID, recruitment has been extraordinarily difficult leaving schools like Chelsea understaffed.

Depending on the environment, work for custodians includes cleaning all types of bodily fluids, removing tables filled with food, liquids, and other items, lifting heavy bags of trash, and scrubbing floors. This work can be physically demanding, the shifts are usually undesirable, and the pay is often low. 

“[It] definitely makes my job a lot harder when there are not enough people to help,” CHS custodian Ken Geer said. “I’ve had to do a lot of overtime and the pay hasn’t been any different than normal, but [recently] I have been getting paid more for doing more overtime.”

Some students notice how the custodians that work at Chelsea are doing an amazing job with little to no appreciation from the students. Aside from showing how much their work is appreciated, a needed improvement to the school would be a full custodial staff.

“I’ve noticed the amount of janitors has gone down a lot and the tables don’t get wiped off as much as they used to,” Tallulah Gorby (‘25) said. “We need to give them credit, we make messes in the locker room, hallways, and school cafeteria.” 

Not only is the shortage of custodians affecting what the school looks like, but also the after-school activities and sports that students participate in.

“I’m a swimmer right, and the custodian in the locker room doesn’t pick up as much as they used to: The floors are mopped with dirt and they take our stuff and throw it away rather than like moving it,” Gabby Rudolph (‘26) said. “We all had to wear leggings for taper in the pool, and we weren’t allowed to have anything hanging if it was wet because it makes the custodians’ job harder. I’m going to put my wet clothes where I need to so that they can dry, but she takes our stuff and I lost at least four pairs of goggles, expensive goggles too.”

Most people feel that the school should cut the custodians some slack due to their workload because of the increasing shortage where custodians are concerned.

“At school, the floor isn’t that bad, I mean it’s still a little grimy and gross,” Isabel Tuell (‘25) said. “They don’t get paid enough. That’s probably why, I mean, I wouldn’t want to do something the right way if I wasn’t getting paid the right way.”