Mitty Maintenance Staff: A Campus without Students

The Maintenance Crew reflects on the challenges and changes of COVID-19 on Mitty’s campus.

November 9, 2020

Without students on campus, one may expect the jobs of the Maintenance Staff at Mitty to be drastically different. While this is in many ways true, the most impactful changes have also been the most unexpected. 

Mitty’s student-filled campus before the pandemic.

The Mitty Maintenance Crew is organized into two main divisions—the Day Crew and the Night Crew. In the past, the Day Crew was tasked with outdoor maintenance, such as trimming and trash cleanup, while the Night Crew would sweep each wing to clean up the classrooms. While it may seem as if these roles on our campus might be altered in light of the ongoing pandemic, not much has changed. The workload is more or less the same, just with added safety protocols.

Like always, every Monday morning, Mr. Francisco Ventura, the Head of Groundskeepers, sets a weekly schedule. After organizing the times for the maintenance crew to mow and clean campus as well as John Mise Park, he calls the Day Crew into a meeting in order to dispatch them in teams of two to get to work. Now, with the threat of COVID-19, the teams of two are required to carry their own tools, wear masks at all times, and keep a distance of six feet from their partners whenever possible. With such continuity in their role, this leaves many wondering: if their jobs have not changed much, what has?

The answer, just as Mitty students have experienced, is campus life. For Mr. Ventura, this meant halting his daily exercise regimen in the weight room each morning—often with other staff members such as Mr. Anthony Rojo or Coach Brian Yocke. In addition, Mr. Ventura can no longer spend time with Coach Yocke and the baseball team, a group who he fondly remembers especially appreciated the hard work of the maintenance crew. For the entire crew, the pandemic meant severely restricting their yearly summer barbecue, a treasured memory of Mr. Ventura’s. This year’s barbecue, which was executed with all necessary safety precautions, “wasn’t as fun. We did our best, but we wish it was back to normal.” Surely this is a sentiment that students can relate to.  

Despite the isolation, the Maintenance Team does their best to break the monotony of pandemic life. Outside of their weekly Monday meetings, Mr. Ventura prioritizes bonding between the Day Crew members by rotating the teams of two. However, beyond the isolation, the socially distanced BBQs, and the loss of staff exercise mornings, the greatest loss for Mr. Ventura has been the students. “I miss having all of you guys around. It’s nice to see the campus being used,” he reflects.

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