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Port Arthur elementary school custodial staff going 'above and beyond' to make school safe, clean for students' return

Cleaning staff is using new tools to make sure the building is as safe as possible for students and staff

PORT ARTHUR, Texas — It's been a while since chatter filled the hallways at DeQueen Elementary in Port Arthur. 

Employees are now back in the building making sure it's safe for everyone once students return. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the biggest responsibilities falls on the shoulders of custodial workers. 

Head custodian Anthony Reed says he's been doing this work for quite a while.  

"I mean we're going above and beyond to make sure everything is disinfected," Reed said. 

Reed took his first job as a custodial worker 37 years ago when he was just 14 years old. 

"I just like serving people, I like serving people you know, I like serving my community," Reed said. 

He knows a thing or two about keeping things clean, and keeping people safe. 

"It's just amplified. The only difference is we're using foggers and things like that now," Reed said. 

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He doesn't take the job lightly. 

"Like I said, we all have kids ourselves and at the end of the day, we want to be able to go home healthy," Reed said. 

Port Arthur ISD is taking safety and kicking it up a notch with fever detectors. 

DeQueen Elementary Principal Jerry Gloston appreciates and hopes parents will too. 

"I think everyone is concerned, but I will tell you that this district, Port Arthur Independent School district has gone above and beyond to do what we can to make sure employees are safe and our students are safe," Gloston said. 

When students make their return, it'll look different. 

"It's all hands on deck," Reed said. 

The district is planning a completely virtual return to school beginning on Tuesday. Both Principal Gloston and Mr. Reed say that's not stopping them from continuing to keep the building as clean as possible ahead of the start of school.