No school on snow days right? Well, not true for everyone. Some people have to show up even if school is closed. Head Custodian RJ Connell and Custodian Vali Burla along with Principal Michael Schaefer had to come to work on the snow days.
Our school missed four school days in December and six days in January due to the weather and a power outage. During those days off, the principal and custodians were expected to report because they are essential staff. Essential staff responsibilities on school closure days include checking on the heating systems, checking for leaks, and keeping school grounds safe both inside and outside.
“RJ Connell and I were here and on all of those days we walked around and we checked for leaks, snow damage, and checked doors,” Schaefer said.
Connell and Burla used a tractor and chemicals to clear snow and ice. With January’s massive snow, some of the clearing of the parking lots and sidewalks was contracted out. More chemicals were necessary for removing ice.
First priority is the inside of the building involving the heating system and leaks. The second area of focus is the outside of the building. There are parking lots, sidewalks, entrances to the school that need to be cleared so they are safe for anyone coming to Gresham High.
“Clearing snow and ice from parking lots, sidewalks and keeping the building accessible for the fire department, emergency services, and for us to do our job,” Connell said regarding safety on the outside of the building.
These efforts were important during these storms as the school had several roof leaks that led to damage. One classroom and one office suffered water damage from a roof leak. There were other areas with less damage.
FLS head teacher, Roberta Milles’ classroom suffered substantial damage. The classroom needed to be moved while cleanup and repairs were done. The leaks were noticed as soon as essential staff checked the building.
“Water came through the ceiling and the ceiling tiles collapsed and water flooded the floor,” Milles said.
So, next time when you think of everybody getting a day off because of snow, remember there are still some people that work.