(KNTV/NBC News Channel) – Missing students at his elementary school because of the pandemic, a California school custodian has created subtle reminders of the students he hasn’t seen in months.
James Herrera is the custodian at Holly Oak Elementary in San Jose.
For months, he has worked on the school grounds alone, performing his regular duties, including extra steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Herrera says he misses the sound and sights of young students on campus. That’s why he created more than 100 cardboard cutouts of students on the playground.
Herrera says the life-sized artwork doesn’t replace the children, but makes it easier in this time of separation.
“Every time I walk past the playground and see it empty, I forget what my job is,” Herrera said. “The morale is down. And so that’s what it’s for. Build them up.”