Operations & Business Services Newsletter September 16,, 2020

Heating and Cooling Changeover Process

When we turn off cooling, and turn on heating we disable the cooling system, drain down water lines, etc. and start maintenance on pumps, valves, and electrical components.  This can take several days to complete barring any issues.

When we turn on heating and turn off the air conditioning we fill the boilers and start maintenance on them, check all safety devices and start up to ensure proper operation, verify proper flow of water.

During the transitional period, there is usually a good chunk of time in which we can take advantage of the outside weather to condition our buildings.  Although the temperatures may drop lower and be a little cooler in the mornings, the buildings usually warm up fairly quickly once occupied.  Utilizing this “free cooling” time for as long as we can, minimizes energy use, and has a positive impact on the environment.

All three of our buildings use 2-pipe systems, which means that the same pipes are used to move hot/ cold water around the building.  This is why we need time in between the changeover in order to do proper maintenance. These systems do not operate like many of your homes likely do where you can switch back and forth with relative ease.  Once a decision is made, it is extremely difficult to go back.

The outside temperature has a direct impact on what the systems are doing.  Just because a chiller is enabled, it must raise to a certain temperature outside in order to be able to run.  The same is true with the boilers; the temperature must drop below a certain temperature before the boiler will turn on.  The overall goal is that once we turn on heat or cooling, the boilers and chillers run pretty consistently until they are shut down. Our systems monitor inside and outside air temperatures. Unit ventilators continue to operate during the day providing fresh air whether the chiller or boiler is on. Pumps keep the flow of water running throughout the building.

As of now the chillers are still operating as needed to keep the appropriate loop temperature running through the two-pipe system. Chillers will be drained in October and boilers filled after the chillers have been emptied.

Schools Need 176 Million Tests Each Month

U.S. News and World Report reports the Rockefeller Institute has suggested that the U.S. needs up to 176 million coronavirus tests per month to operate schools safely. "Most of the nation's school children have not returned to classrooms full time this fall, straining families as well as employers. This must change," a report from the Foundation, and Duke University's Margolis Center for Health Policy, states. While the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-biggest in the country, recently established a major $210 million plan to test and contact-trace teachers, the nation as a whole only currently tests around 21 million individuals each month.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, comments: “If community spread is too high as it is in Missouri and Mississippi, if you don’t have the infrastructure of testing, and if you don’t have the safeguards that prevent the spread of viruses in the school, we believe that you cannot reopen in person.”

District 48. Fortunately, community spread is low in the DuPage/Kane County region of Illinois allowing on-site instruction. The Illinois Department of Health continually monitors all regions in Illinois. Regions with high positivity receive warnings and are subject to further restrictions from the Governor. The Governor can move any of the 11 regions in the State of Illinois from Stage 4 that permits on-site instruction with social distancing, face masks, and no more than 50 in a room to Stage 3 that restricts on-site instruction to no more than 10 to a room with social distancing and masks.

How One SoCal Desert Town Has Reopened Its Classrooms

EdSource reports at Lucerne Valley Elementary School in Southern California’s high desert, the school year began August 6, with online-only classes, with a subsequent waiver from the state allowing it to begin in-person instruction a fortnight later on August 20. The elementary school’s 463 students all had the option of participating in in-person instruction or sticking full-time with distance learning. Almost all, about 400 students, decided to return to the classroom and the school split them into two cohorts.

One cohort comes to school Mondays and Tuesdays, while the other attends on Thursdays and Fridays. When students aren’t physically at school, they are participating in distance learning, including on Wednesdays, when everyone is remote and the school undergoes a deep cleaning.

Inside one first-grade class last week, about 10 students sat two to a table, each with their own sneeze partition. The partitions are disinfected every night and are switched out in between cohorts. Supplies like crayons are also swapped out between cohorts. If a student were to display symptoms consistent with the coronavirus the school has also set up an isolation room with cots where students can stay until a parent can pick them up.

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, the school will consult with officials in the county’s public health department. At the very least, that student’s class would be shut down and sent home to do distance learning exclusively for two weeks, principal Ricky Anderson said. “We’ve tried to encourage the parents at home to do some self-assessments before they even get to school and are encouraging them if they’re sick, stay home,” Anderson said. “But that’s the kind of the beauty of distance learning in the hybrid system is that even if they’re home, it’s not considered an absence.”

School Closures To Cost U.S. Economy Trillions

CNBC reports the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has warned that the interruption to children's schooling in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic could be equivalent to a total economic loss of $15.3 trillion in the U.S alone. The OECD said that while educators have made a concerted effort to maintain learning during this period of homeschooling, children have nonetheless had to rely more on their own resources to study remotely. As a result, beyond the pandemic, the OECD said that "there are evident benefits to students in expanding their learning time and opportunities beyond the school gate by being able to learn using a variety of distance learning approaches."

The Hidden Costs Of Remote Learning

Gwynn Guilford, of the Wall Street Journal explores the trade-off looming for millions of families across the U.S., whereby kids returning to remote learning will need parents at home and not at work. According to research by Brevan Howard Asset Management, about 4.3 million U.S. workers could find themselves staying home this fall unless they find other child-care arrangements. The firm calculated that around 5.3 million working parents with children under the age of 14 have full-time jobs that can’t be done from home and lack another parent or adult to take up the child-care slack. Separately, recent analysis by Barclays economist Jonathan Millar indicated that the closures of all schools from September to December 2020 would result in a reduction of U.S. gross domestic product in 2020 on the order of between 0.4% and 0.8%.

Teaching The 'New' COVID-19 Social-Emotional Skills

Of the districts whose reopening plans Education Week has analyzed, less than a third plan to include at least some in-person classes. Helping students to develop critical social-emotional skills in a socially distanced world will require administrators and teachers to not just rethink existing approaches to social learning but also teach children to navigate the new social skills that are needed for life during the pandemic.

“I think it's going to require a lot of creativity on the part of our schools and educators to think about how they're communicating social-emotional learning (SEL) during this time,” said Justina Schlund, director of field learning for the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. Recommendations for school and district leaders include finding ways to support students from a distance, such as using “color checks” for children to use to signal their emotional “temperature,” to compensate for the loss of physical cues when teaching online.

 

Education Department Cracks Down On Race-Related Content

Politico reports the Education Department plans to scrutinize a wide range of employee activities, including internal book clubs, in search of “Anti-American propaganda” and discussions about “white privilege” as it carries out the White House’s demand that federal agencies halt certain types of race-related training. The crackdown comes as the department implements a government-wide directive the White House issued Friday to stop what it called “un-American propaganda training sessions" about race. To implement that policy, the Education Department will require each of its offices in D.C., as well as regional outposts throughout the country, to review a range of training materials, including outside contracts for diversity workshops, plus content produced internally at the agency.

The Education Department’s move to restrict discussions among employees also comes as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos finalized a new policy this week aimed at promoting free speech in other venues. DeVos’ rule, which was finalized Wednesday, cuts off some Education Department funding to public universities that run afoul of the First Amendment or private universities that violate their own speech policies.

Schools Suffering System Outages And Cyberattacks

CNN reports schools across the country have reported system outages, cyberattacks, and other issues that have delayed some districts' return to online learning.  In Texas, Houston ISD's website was down Tuesday as more than 200,000 students began virtual learning. The Miami-Dade School District in Florida has already seen dozens of cyberattacks, and last week a 16-year-old student was arrested and charged in connection with several of the attacks. In Virginia, the Arlington Public School district faced systemwide technical challenges on its first day back to school on Tuesday, leaving many students unable to connect to their classrooms online.

Disrict 48 teachers report few problems with our robust WIFI service in our schools. We did have two wireless units go down but they were back up and running after IT Tech Dan De Chiara did work on the wireless server program with the assistance of Xtivity of Elmhurst who has the maintenance contract for the system they installed. Other District 48 teachers have reported that the band width of WIFI at some of their students’ homes was marginal at best.

USDA Expands Free Meal Program To Salt Creek Schools

Our district is now participating in the United States Department of Agriculture Summer Meals Program for the first time. This means parents will now no longer have to pay for the combo breakfast/lunch meals through December 31, 2020. We do not know if this special permission will extend into 2021 at this time. 

The Illinois State Board of Education and Salt Creek School District 48 are excited to share the announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that they have extended waivers for Summer Meals Food Service Program through the end of this calendar year. This allows Salt Creek School District 48  to offer free reimbursable grab and go meals to all children through Dec. 31, 2020. The flexibilities include:

·       Allowing the USDA Summer Food Service Program to be served to all Salt Creek 48 students at no cost;

·       Permits meals to be served outside of the typically required group settings and meal times;

·       Waives meal pattern requirements; and

·       Allows parents and guardians to pick-up meals for their age 18 and under children.

·        

We will provide five (5)combo breakfast/lunch grab and go meals every Tuesday in front of the District 48 Administrative Offices door at Albright Middle School for students on remote eLearning between 1:00 PM and 1:30 PM. We are an open SFSP district so every child in our school district  is eligible for the free combo breakfast/lunch meals as long as they are 18 or under.

If we have more parents picking up meals than we have meals that day they will be asked to go over to Jackson Middle School in Villa Park, IL (DuPage District 45) since District 48 and 45 food service programs have merged. Last week Willowbrook HS ran out of meals and sent parents to District 45 to pick up meals.

When our district begins expansion to hybrid on-site instruction all students will take a combo breakfast/lunch meal home with them. AM shift students have their lunch for that day and breakfast for the following day Monday through Friday. PM shift students have their breakfast and lunch for the following day Monday through Friday. No exceptions every child will take a combo breakfast/lunch meal home with them.

Quote Of The Week

“Learning starts with failure; the first failure is the beginning of education.”  ~ John Hersey