Cost of Highland Council coronavirus protection work in schools revealed as staff praised for efforts getting kids back into classrooms
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CLEANERS and catering staff who went "above and beyond" to ensure schools could safely reopen after the coronavirus lockdown was lifted have been thanked for their efforts.
The acknowledgement came as Highland Council was told of the £2.3m cost of extra precautions brought in to counter the Covid-19 threat in schools.
Its Housing and Property Committee welcomed the significant effort and support of the local authority's property, catering, cleaning and facilities management teams in preparing the school estate for fully reopening from August 18.
"I would like to express my thanks to our cleaning, catering and property staff for the fantastic job they have done in going above and beyond in the preparations for reopening Highland’s schools and facilities.” – Cllr Ben Thompson
Committee chairman Cllr Ben Thompson said: “I welcome the council’s new first quarterly monitoring report for the property facilities management service – this is a step forward in terms of the council’s oversight of its property which will enable councillors to scrutinise the work of this vital service to our communities.
“As a personal observation I would like to commend the property, catering, cleaning and facilities staff, in reopening up our schools, what a fantastic job they have done. It goes without saying, we rely on our cleaning staff and our catering staff all the time, but now it’s become more apparent – more so than ever – that if the schools were not clean, they simply wouldn’t be open.
"So, I would like to express my thanks to our cleaning, catering and property staff for the fantastic job they have done in going above and beyond in the preparations for reopening Highland’s schools and facilities.”
A report considered by councillors detailed property-related estimated Covid-19 costs of £2.312m to date, consisting of the cleaning, disinfection and remediation of school water systems, installation of Covid-related signage, additional cleaning prior to schools reopening, installation of protective screens to dining room till points, supply of additional cleaning materials, initial bulk purchase of hand sanitiser as well as work to improve mechanical ventilation in the school estate.
It added that catering, cleaning and facilities management provide a significant level of service delivery to the council’s education and High Life Highland properties across Highland.
The cleaning and facilities management service have also supported key worker hubs and humanitarian centres and additional enhanced cleaning services to schools and other council facilities during the pandemic.
The property and facilities management teams are also providing phased support to bring the High Life Life Highland estate back into operational use.