Friday was a scheduled day off from school for the Neshannock Area School District, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t work being done. 

Back in the bus garage in the rear of the district’s campus, custodians were hard at work giving a deep clean to the school’s 21 buses and vans. It was all part of an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

“Over the Christmas holiday, we completely transitioned our cleaning products into a green-cleaning mode,” Mark Ulam, director of buildings and grounds for the district, said. “All the products we use at the school are Green Seal certified. Some are USDA-approved. They’re biochemical, so you can use them on food services.”

School was set to resume on Tuesday after another off day Monday, but now the earliest any Pennsylvania school will go back in session is March 30 after Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday ordered classes be put on hold for a minimum of 10 business days. 

Ulam said the district made the switch over to the biochemical cleaning products during the Christmas holiday break. The district’s six full-time and two part-time custodians were busy with Friday’s task. 

“We also added Purell sanitizing stations in key areas in the elementary school and the high school,” Ulam said. “We figured that the first line of defense with bringing infections into school would be the transportation, so we started hitting the buses hard with disinfectant, heavy-duty cleaner and the Vital Oxide (electrostatic) sprayer.”

The sprayer is a tool that can be filled with disinfectant and is then positively charged. When dispensed, it clings to negatively charged surfaces, meaning it will stay on surfaces and clean for days instead of a few minutes. 

Inside the school, DiCaprio Carpet Cleaning of New Castle was working to do even more cleaning. 

“We’re cleaning high points and high traffic, high-touch surfaces,” Lou DiCaprio, owner, said. “This the first (school) we’re doing, but others have contacted us. A lot of professional offices have contacted us as well.”

The 14 workers on staff for DiCaprio were working two shifts a day over the weekend to clean the school. 

Digital editor

Pete Sirianni is the News' digital editor. Previously, he worked at The Bradford (Pa.) Era. Sirianni is a 2016 IUP graduate, earning a degree in journalism and public relations. Contact him at or on Twitter at @PeterSirianni.

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