The People Behind the Scenes

As the 2020-2021 school year comes to an end, I would like to thank everyone that made it possible for us to come back and continue to safely attend school. In particular, I’d like to recognize the cleaning and maintenance staff, who work so hard to clean our school and keep us as a school community safe.


In order to learn more about the maintenance and cleaning crew and how this year has been different from others, I spoke with David Barber, head of the facilities group here at Mercy and asked him a few questions. 


What is your job title here at Mercy and what does your job entail? 

David Barber: I am the Facilities Coordinator, and I am the head of the Maintenance and Facility staff here at Mercy High School. My job is making sure that the building is running properly, the heat or air is working, answering emails, fixing any issues with plumbing, cleaning inside and outside, and lastly, making sure the grass is cut properly.

What are job tasks custodians had to do differently this year?

DB: Cleaning all of the buildings, making sure that we are spraying the school to help prevent the spread of Covid-19, and keeping me and my guys safe. Moving desks in the classrooms was very hard. We moved about 300 desks in the school.

What were some of your biggest challenges in getting the school ready for students to come back during the pandemic?

DB: The biggest challenges this year were moving the furniture to accommodate the 6 feet social distancing. Another challenge was making sure that we had the people to do the work. I was in a lot of meetings in 2020, on the re-opening of Mercy, but I think we did a great job with the challenges that we were faced with. Just like everyone else, I want to get back to normal, but we need to do it safely.

Your routine can probably start to feel a bit repetitive after some time. Can you tell me how you stay motivated while you’re on the job?

DB: I stay motivated by loving what I do. I have been in the Mercy community for 30 years now, and the school community is very kind to me and my staff. Having good people at work makes you want to come to work. The girls are the best as well. I have also been blessed to have a great family that supports me.

The cleaning staff at Mercy has worked and continues to work hard to keep the school clean and students, teachers, and faculty members safe, but most of the time, not everyone understands exactly how much of what they do goes unnoticed. Talking with David Barber gave me a better understanding of their job, how Covid-19 has affected it, and how this staff has risked their lives to do their job. On behalf of all the students and staff of Mercy, I would like to thank all the custodians and cleaning crew for keeping our building and school community safe. We appreciate you!