Over the summer, cleaning and custodial staff at Scarsdale Middle School strip and wax floors throughout the building. Pictured here is Unit President Robert Schweit using the floor scrubber. Behind Schweit, from left to right, are Jeffrey Koenig, Leroy Edwards and Justin Dalbon.

SCARSDALE — When the end of the school year arrives and students are swapping out books for beach trips, the custodial and cleaning staff in the Scarsdale Public Schools already have September on their minds.

According to CSEA Scarsdale Public Schools Custodial Unit President Robert Schweit, workers shift into high gear during the summer to undertake the rigorous cleaning and maintenance that ensures students return to clean and safe classrooms in the fall.

“The school buildings are cleaned from top to bottom each summer,” said Schweit, who also serves as the Westchester County Local’s 4th vice president. “We pull every piece of furniture out of the classroom and clean them. All the air vents are cleaned, as well as the light fixtures, walls and ceilings. The floors are all stripped and waxed. Then, everything is put back into place.”

The summertime deep cleaning that takes place in Scarsdale is in addition to the regular cleaning and disinfecting that takes place during the school year, said Scarsdale School District Unit Secretary Justin Dalbon.

“We’re still cleaning and disinfecting throughout the school year, especially the high touch surfaces,” said Dalbon.

CSEA Scarsdale School District Custodial Unit member Jaylen Bradshaw, left, learns how to properly apply pressure in the event of a nosebleed. This was part of an annual first aid training unit members complete each summer. To his right is member Franklyn Pelaez.

Having the school buildings largely empty allows for other preparation for the school year. Each summer, CSEA members complete a first aid training that covers topics including CPR, the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) and the Heimlich maneuver. Whether it’s choking, nosebleeds or other emergencies, CSEA members are prepared for situations they may encounter.

“We actually negotiated language in our union contract for the first aid training, which ensures everyone takes it and does so during work hours,” said Schweit. “It’s an important piece of what we do as CSEA members to make sure we’re prepared in every way for the coming school year.”

— Jessica Ladlee

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Jessica Ladlee

Jessica Ladlee is the communications specialist for CSEA's Southern Region. A graduate of Boston University, Ladlee is an award-winning journalist who worked as a newspaper editor before joining the CSEA communications team in 2004. She is passionate about the opportunities unions provide for people to join the middle class, something her grandmother did as a Rockland County CSEA member over 50 years ago.

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