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Custodians, teachers ask for extra time to properly clean classrooms to combat coronavirus

Teachers are also hoping districts are prepared for the possibility of a staff reduction due to the coronavirus.

HOUSTON — Houston-area education unions are calling on districts to take all the necessary steps to combat the coronavirus. 

On Monday, several unions, including a custodial union, asked the Houston Independent School District for extra time in sanitizing classrooms and school buses to fight off the spread of the virus.

Custodians even asked the district to consider hiring outside cleaning services.

"Everybody needs to be protected and be safe and be trained to deal with this virus that we're dealing with," said Houston Educational Support Personnel President Wretha Thomas. "It's not no play-play stuff no more."

HISD told us it’s already placing special emphasis on disinfection of door handles and other frequently touched areas.

And that daily bus-cleaning efforts have been enhanced.

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The Houston Federation of Teachers called on HISD to develop a comprehensive plan to deal with the possibility of a teacher/staff reduction due to the virus. 

"The question we have gotten is "what happens if I can't go to work?" said HFT Vice President Andy Dewey.

Right now, the union said teachers would have to use sick time if they a school is closed and they're not even sick.

"Does the district have a plan to deal with this situation?" asked Dewey.

HISD did not offer any information regarding those concerns. 

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