Q&A with Joseph Schaller, Assistant Principal of Operations, about changes to the construction around the school due to COVID-19

Construction+workers+carry+out+their+jobs+prior+to+CHS+moving+to+online+schooling.+Despite+COVID-19+construction+continues+to+happen+at+CHS+though+there+have+been+changes+made+to+the+timeline.

Lillian He

Construction workers carry out their jobs prior to CHS moving to online schooling. Despite COVID-19 construction continues to happen at CHS though there have been changes made to the timeline.

Lillian He

What would you say your involvement is with construction around the school? 

I’m kind of the liaison between the school and the construction crews. If (the construction crews) working at the high school now have questions about when they can get the building, those sorts of things. We work together on things like that: keeping on track, making sure everything’s on time. With construction, things just come up fairly often. What about this? What about that? So basically I’m just the liaison on the work between the building and the construction crews. 

 

So what was the original plan and timeline for the construction going on around the school?

In the original timeline, everything’s focused up on the offices, student services, counseling, the nurse’s office and the activities athletics office. That was originally scheduled to basically be in three phases. The first phase was basically where the current student services are, at least where it was, and that construction was already started and it was to be done after spring break. When we returned from spring break the construction was to start in the nurse’s office and in the counseling offices. Then the final phase, which was to start basically after school ended at the beginning of June, was to get into the athletics and activities area and have that completed over the summer. 

 

What changes have been made to the timeline?

The change has basically become that we have, actually, it’s already happened in the counseling areas, (that) we were actually able to move everything out of there. I think we moved it out the week after March 13 because March 13 was the last day for students. We were actually able to move everything out of there so that construction could begin earlier and actually (April 14) or (April 15), everything’s moved out of what was the activities and athletics office so we can actually begin demo and construction within the next week or so, which they were not scheduled to start until June. 

Right now, everything is scheduled to be done on or before the start of the school year, which it was already scheduled that way. Now it just looks hopefully much more likely that that will occur since they’re starting a little earlier in areas. If there’s any setbacks, hopefully, it wouldn’t push us into the start of school now whereas before we realized (it might).

 

What is the rationale behind the modifications to the timeline?

There’s no students there (now) and the counselors are gone, so there’s no need for those offices to stay in place. The construction companies are still working. They are wanting work and they want to be there so we have allowed them to continue to work. We could move it up because before we couldn’t do all those projects at the same time (before) because we needed the space. We needed counselors to be able to meet with students and we needed student services to meet with kids. We needed everyone to work with our students whereas now, that’s not the case. (The construction) can all happen at one time. Previously, (the construction) could not have been done during June and July. There was just too much work so that’s why it had to go throughout the school year. But because there are not students there that need to be met with or even the ability (of counselors) to meet with students, we are no longer kind of bound by that.

 

What policies have been put in place to keep the construction workers safe from COVID-19?

(The construction) supervisors are the ones that determine how that works for them. They determine what the safety measures that need to be taken and so on are. I’ve been in (the school) a few times and when I go in there, when I see them, they’re able to work semi-independently. They can be working in different parts of that area where they’re not working with one another. A lot of time, they already, and I don’t know all the technical terms for the masks and things that they wear, whether the PPE or whatever, but a lot of them will have masks on anyway because of working around all the dust and everything. They already have some of those measures in place, but basically, their supervisors are the ones to make sure that (the workers) are safe

 

Is there anything I haven’t asked that you think readers should know?

The timeline is still fairly the same in the sense that we wanted (the construction) to be done l before the start of school and right now, it seems more likely that that will happen so hopefully that is the case. And you know what? What would (happened originally) was the counselors were going to be in the library. They were actually going to be in media center classrooms one and two and obviously that won’t need to happen now. So from that standpoint, it’s good that they didn’t have to relocate. I think as we get closer and closer (to school starting), we can see whether they are or not on time (with construction). As of right now, we are scheduled to be starting the school year with the new offices.

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