While following a more stringent cleaning protocol and wearing a mask all day were relatively easy adjustments for Fanny Martinez, The Guild for Human Services’ day housekeeper struggled with another aspect of COVID-19: She missed interacting with the students.

Fanny continued to clean the facility for the staff members who worked from The Guild’s headquarters in Concord during the height of the pandemic, yet she anxiously awaited the return of the students. The day students came back in July and residential students have followed.

“It was really hard because the school was empty and not as many people were here,” says Fanny, herself the mother of a child with special needs. “The students and the teachers would always say, ‘Hi, Fanny.’ I really missed seeing them and felt very sad.”

Despite the risks of contracting the coronavirus, Fanny worked every weekday through the spring, taking two trains and a bus to come to work at The Guild every morning. She worried about contracting the virus and bringing it home to her family.

“There was a time that I felt scared, but I put myself in God’s hands and prayed for nothing to happen,” Fanny says.

Fanny’s new regimen includes repeated cleaning of doors, doorknobs, bathrooms, and other potential COVID-19 hot spots at The Guild’s 60,000-square-foot facility throughout the day.

“At first I was nervous, but I am more secure now that I am following the protocol,” she says. “We’re returning to normal little by little.”