“I am sure that I join our parents and students in celebrating that we will be back in class tomorrow, Friday, January 20 – following our multiple day closure,” said Superintendent of Bend-La Pine Schools, Shay Mikalson. “I have said it before, but it begs repeating, our community is amazing and I am so humbled by all of their support.”
Mikalson said that the four schools that were closed today to allow for snow to be removed from their rooftops and around their properties, Elk Meadow, Pine Ridge and W.E. Miller elementary and Pilot Butte middle schools will reopen on Friday, January 20.
Crews will continue work throughout the night at W.E. Miller and Elk Meadow elementary schools. Clean-up work will also continue at these two school sites on Friday.
Mikalson thanked more than 150 staff members, contractors, and all of those who worked behind the scenes for working tirelessly for days to remove record-setting amounts of snow that was moved from our rooftops and school sites to ensure students could get back into their schools this week.
Bend-La Pine Schools will continue its rolling openings of schools tomorrow, Thursday, January 19, as Lava Ridge Elementary, Ponderosa Elementary, Pacific Crest Middle, and REALMS schools reopen.
Four schools will remain closed on Thursday: Elk Meadow, Pine Ridge and W.E. Miller elementary schools and Pilot Butte Middle School.
In all, the following facilities will open tomorrow at their regular time:
Administration – Education Center
Amity Creek at Thompson School
Bear Creek Elementary
High Lakes Elementary
Highland at Kenwood School
La Pine Elementary
Lava Ridge Elementary
R.E. Jewell Elementary
Silver Rail Elementary
Three Rivers School
Westside Village at Kingston School
High Desert Middle
La Pine Middle
Pacific Crest Middle
Sky View Middle
Bend Senior High
La Pine High
Mountain View High
Transportation, La Pine
Warehouse – Distribution
Bend International School
Elk Meadow, Pine Ridge and W.E. Miller elementary schools and Pilot Butte Middle School remain closed
At Elk Meadow, Pine Ridge and W.E. Miller elementary schools, areas of the roof have too much accumulated snow and compacted ice to reopen. Today the district brought in new pieces of machinery, which are basically giant steamers, to help melt the snow and ice. This work will continue tomorrow.
At Pilot Butte, large amounts of snow remain on the roof of multiple buildings. The school, which is located north of Pilot Butte, is significantly shaded and is not benefitting from the sun, which is warming and melting snow from many sites. We are continuing to mobilize crews to remove snow, according to plans from our structural engineering team.
At Lava Ridge, crews are working under lights throughout the night to ensure the school’s opening for tomorrow.
“We have retained the continued services of structural engineers, who are working with us to monitor our progress,” said Mikalson. “They will continue to be out with our crews as they work to open schools as soon as possible.”
As anticipated, some of our schools experienced water leakage today as a result of warming temperatures and snow runoff. We do anticipate further leaking to occur throughout the coming days and have asked staff to do the following:
Continue to knock down icicles and clear ice dams as they build up around entrances and walkways. Continue to keep roof drains clear and ensure there are no ice dams on eaves.
At schools with upper roofs that can shed snow onto lower roofs: Before school each morning, and again after school, check for excessive sliding or drifting with concentrated snow loads that may be in the valleys or built up behind obstructions.
At schools with flat roofs: Check scuppers and downspouts to confirm water is flowing and clear any ice or snow blockage.
Monitor any interior roof leaks and identify location on top of roof in order to clear ice damming, check for drywall cracks or ceiling tile sagging.
“I’m grateful to all of our staff members for their dedication during this challenging time,” said Superintendent Shay Mikalson. “From the teachers returning to classrooms to custodians continuing to remove ice dams from our roofs to our staff members patiently anticipating a return to school, I want to say thank you!”
Our Frequently Asked Questions has been updated and is available for review at Alerts and Updates webpage. That page includes a link to our Snow Removal document that shows snow removal progress to date. This document will be updated daily on our website at about 5 p.m. until work is compete.
Snow Removal and Engineering Assessments:
Q: When did structural engineers look at my students’ schools?
A: Engineers have completed evaluations of all 38 school and work sites for structural stability. They have now deemed all sites structurally sound, this includes the most recent reviews of Bear Creek Elementary, Westside Village Magnet at Kingston School, and R.E. Jewell Elementary School.
Q: My children go to R.E. Jewell Elementary, what happened there?
A: As many of you have heard, Jewell sustained damage during the record-setting recent snow storm. Some support beams in the media center showed signs of damage. Jewell immediately contacted structural engineers, who examined the damage and designed a solution. The beams were replaced with steel beams and were reinforced with columns. Jewell now have eight of these columns in the media center and two in each of our Title rooms. The City of Bend and structural engineers have examined these supports and gave us the go-ahead to reopen school. The columns will keep the building safe, and this summer the district will complete additional work so that they can be removed. We are confident the roof is safe; in fact, Assistant Principal Jesse Rasmussen and Principal Scott Edmondson were on the roof last week clearing snow alongside our maintenance and custodial crews.
Q. You said all schools are structurally sound, so why are my students not going back on Wednesday?
A: While all sites are now deemed structurally sound, not all sites are yet ready for occupancy. To be cleared, snow loads must be below design capacity and all doors must be cleared to allow compliance with State Fire Marshal code. We will open schools after we receive word that they are cleared for occupancy.
Q: Why wasn’t snow removed from roofs earlier?
Our maintenance crews were clearing roofs based on priority of leaks and other structural issues/concerns as the storm was wearing on. Specifically, during the storm our crews were on roofs clearing ice dams, removing snow, and clearing drains at Kenwood’s (Highland) library, La Pine High School, Pilot Butte Middle School’s gym, Kingston School (Westside Village), Three Rivers School, Mountain View High School, Thompson School (Amity Creek), Sky View Middle School, Bend Senior High School, Marshall High School and Summit High School.
Our crews do a lot that goes unnoticed. We have had a record amount of snow fall over the last month and our maintenance and custodial teams have been working overtime to keep up with it all, as they worked to clear more than 2 million square feet of roof. We are also taking a really good look at all aspects of this situation and considering possible changes to our procedures and preparedness.
Q: How are icicles being removed from schools?
A: We will consider inside recess when classes resume if we need to allow custodial crews and other staff additional time to continue removing snow and icicles.
Q: When will I know when I am going back to school?
A: We are opening many schools on Wednesday, January 18 and anticipate opening schools daily for the rest of the week. We will announce new openings each night around 5 p.m.
Q: How is the district consulting with structural engineers?
A: Structural engineers have been at all of our sites making field observations for the last several days. They have additionally reviewed all building roofing design plans to gather roof load capacity for each site, to help with evaluations. These same engineers have been meeting with our staff providing us with assessment briefings daily.
Q: Why is Pacific Crest Middle School closed, when I understand it was being used for emergency management?
A: Due to melting snow and wind patterns that occurred Tuesday afternoon, some snow has accumulated in new areas on the roof and around the building that needs to be removed before occupancy.
Q: My student said there were leaks in their building today, what was that about?
A: Yes, there were leaks at many sites. We anticipated that some of our schools would experience some level of leakage as a result of warming temperatures and snow runoff. Visible water leaks are not a sign that a roof has been structurally comprised, according to engineers. We anticipate further leaking to occur throughout the coming days.
Q: What are your building custodians and school staff doing to mitigate snow and leak issues?
A: We have asked crews to do the following:
Outdoors:Continue to knock down icicles and clear ice dams as they build up around entrances and walkways. Continue to keep roof drains clear and ensure there are no ice dams on eaves.
Crews continue remove snow away from buildings.
At schools with upper roofs that can shed snow onto lower roofs: Before school each morning,and again after school, check for excessive sliding or drifting with concentrated snow loads that may be in the valleys or built up behind obstructions.
At schools with flat roofs: Check scuppers and downspouts to confirm water is flowing and clear any ice or snow blockage.
Monitor any interior roof leaks and identify location on top of roof in order to clear ice damming, check for drywall cracks or ceiling tile sagging.
School schedule/calendar information:
Q: My student is among those going back to school on Wednesday, January 18. We understand that he/she will have a full day, instead of a School Improvement Wednesday early release day. Are you planning on doing this again next week?
A: No. Extending Wednesdays could be on the table as we look at how we might recover some instructional time lost as a result of these closures.
Q: Should we expect more days to be added to the school calendar?
A: We do not intend to add more school days to the end of the school year (beyond the previously-announced four days, June 18-22). Superintendent Shay Mikalson plans to petition the State Superintendent of Public Instruction for a waiver of instructional time standards. He hopes that the state will look favorably upon our request for flexibility in our calendar, given our unprecedented situation.
Q: To add instruction time, why didn’t Bend-La Pine Schools add time to School Improvement Wednesdays (rather than adding four days to the end of the school year)?
A: Prior to the loss of our fifth school day, that option was being seriously considered. With the loss of our fifth day occurring so early in the winter (and now the loss of our sixth, seventh and eighth days), all inside a single semester, we determined that we needed to add full days to balance the learning time between semesters. Finally, regularly scheduled, job-embedded time for collaborative work and professional learning is the heart of the excellent instruction we expect in Bend-La Pine Schools.
That said, we now believe we may need to consider adding hours to the School Improvement Wednesday schedule this school year. We are continuing to look at this as a possible option as we work with the state.
Q: How does the decision to add days back to the school year affect the district’s budget?
A: The state does not provide us with any additional money when we add days to the calendar.
Q: I am a high school senior, will I need to go back to school after I graduate?
A: At this time, we do not anticipate that you will be going back to class after walking across the stage and receiving your diploma.
Q: What opportunities are available in the community if my child does not have school tomorrow?
A: Check out this Facebook post for opportunities in the community: http://bit.ly/2k2pEGN
Q: What did you test for asbestos in the Kenwood gym debris?
A: The roofing materials were tested for asbestos. The materials did not contain asbestos, according to testing by Paulsen Environmental Consulting, Inc. According to Steve Paulsen, “Because of ongoing remodels and abatements over the last 30 years, the only remaining suspect asbestos-containing materials in the gym building was the roof.” Kenwood AHERA Management Plan is available for review at our Maintenance Office, for those interested in looking at it.
Q: Why did you tear down Kenwood’s gym?
A: Emergency responders called crews in to take down the Kenwood gym as a safety measure. They said that leaving the gym standing and partially collapsed was not an option for safety reasons. Department of Environmental Quality was also on site and supported the emergency demolition.
Q: My student attends Highland Magnet at Kenwood School. Will there be music and PE and if so, where will these classes take place?
A: Yes, students will continue to have music and PE. A school team began meeting Monday to plan how and where these programs will be offered. They will share more details with families as these plans are developed.
Q: Can I have some bricks/chairs/doors from Kenwood School?
A: We have had similar requests from staff and community members. The site is closed and law enforcement is patrolling it. An investigation is ongoing (for insurance purposes). At this time, we have not determined next steps. If anything changes, we will let you all know via email, our website and social media.
Q: When will the gym be rebuilt?
A: It is too soon to know when the gym will be rebuilt and the insurance company will likely continue its investigation for another month.
Disaster Relief Information
Q: How are you paying for all of this?
A: Funding will come from our operating resources, including emergency reserves, initially. We are also in contact with the emergency managers with regard to the possibility of disaster relief funds to help offset the costs.
Q: Could our schools, city, and other governmental agencies receive financial assistance to help pay for damage associated with this winter’s series of snow storms?
A: Our intention is to pursue available financial assistance through Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Disaster funding can be available for governmental agencies to recovery when the president approves a state disaster request. The process is lengthy and involves many steps.
Q: What has to happen for our schools, city or county to secure public assistance?
A: After an incident, local government agencies report damages to the local Emergency Manager (in Deschutes County, that representative is from the Sherriff’s Office), who then compiles all of the reports to Oregon Emergency Management, which makes a recommendation to the governor. At that point, the governor makes a request for federal assistance. FEMA and the state would then evaluate damage with local representatives. FEMA then evaluates the assessment based on severity, magnitude and impact and makes a recommendation to the president.
Q: What is our threshold to obtain FEMA funding?
A: FEMA only funds major disasters. As a county to qualify, we would have to sustain more than $550,000 in damage. The state also has to meet a threshold of total damage, $5.45 million. Both of these damage thresholds must be reached for us to receive any funding.
Q: What kind of damage to public facilities is covered?
A: Damages must be tied to an incident and an incident period which is normally established by weather service (for weather related disaster) and verified by FEMA. Damage covered by FEMA includes debris removal, emergency protective measures (including sandbags, emergency operations center), roads and bridges, water control facilities, building and equipment repair or replacement, utilities repair, restoration and repair of other public facilities. Typically snow removal is not covered.
Q: How long does money take to return to local jurisdictions?
A: It varies based on project and scope, but in general it is a lengthy process. For instance, during the Two Bulls Fire, it took a year and a half for Deschutes County and City of Bend to receive federal assistance.
Q: What percentage of damage would FEMA pay for?
A: Insured facilities must utilize insurance first before FEMA funding. If a disaster is declared, FEMA funding can help with deductible or expenses not covered by insurance. The percentage covered varies, but typically FEMA covers approximately 75 percent.
Snow Removal Continues, Rolling Opening of Schools Begins Wednesday
Schools are closed Tuesday, January 17
More than 150 maintenance and custodial crews, in partnership with local contractors, continued work today to clear snow from Bend-La Pine Schools’ rooftops.
“These men and women continue to make progress and we hope to begin a rolling opening of schools on Wednesday,” said Superintendent Shay Mikalson. “We will be closed tomorrow to continue snow removal that will prepare us for an opening of some schools on Wednesday, followed by additional schools each day this week.”
The attached document shows snow removal progress to date. This document will be updated daily on our website's Alerts and Updates webpage at about 5 p.m. until work is complete.
Maintenance and custodial crews, in partnership with local contractors, worked throughout the day again today to continue clearing snow from Bend-La Pine Schools’ rooftops. The attached document shows progress to date. This document will be updated daily on our website's Alerts and Updates webpage at about 5 p.m. until work is complete.
“A huge thank you to the community for their outpouring of support for our teams today,” said Executive Director of Facilities Mike Tiller. “We had students come by with cards and posters, while families, businesses and churches came by with cakes, cookies, pizzas and more.”
“Work is progressing on rooftop snow removal,” said Tiller. “There is now concern mounting regarding the changing weather forecast. The region is expected to see warming temperatures and rain, which may result in flooding to our area in the next few days.”
“Due to the amount of snow that still remains on schools and the forecasted flooding, we are less optimistic that we will be able to resume classes for some, if not all, students on Tuesday,” said Superintendent Shay Mikalson.
“If the anticipated rain and dramatic warming do occur, we could see water coming through our windows and doors and under thresholds of our schools,” he added. “In addition to the 150 workers already clearing the roofs, we have mobilized seven excavation crews tomorrow to start prepping for the next wave of weather challenges.”
Tiller said that engineers have completed evaluations of all 37 school and work sites for structural stability. He said that engineers deemed 34 sites structurally sound and found one site, R.E. Jewell Elementary, to have structural damage. Repairs to this school began today.
Additionally, results of the district-wide engineering evaluation found possible areas of concern at Bear Creek Elementary and at Westside Village Magnet at Kingston School. Engineers are scheduled to return to these schools to complete additional assessments tomorrow.
“We have been in close communication with our partners at the city and county, who are urging homeowners, business owners and schools to direct melting snow away from structures and clear storm drains and swales,” Tiller added.
Tiller said that volunteers are welcome to pitch in on Tuesday as teams fill sandbags that will be used around school sites. (To volunteer, contact Anne Birky at 541-355-4700.)
For more information from our community partners about how to prepare homes for the anticipated snow melt and for flood prevention tips, visit Flash Alert.
NOTE: Bend-La Pine Schools will continue to share updates each night around 5 p.m.
Maintenance crews continue to work around the clock to clear snow from Bend-La Pine Schools’ rooftops. At this time, snow removal on five school rooftops is now complete, eight are underway and 20 rooftops are scheduled to be cleared in the coming days. Due to low snow accumulations, four sites did not require snow removal ‑ the district’s distribution center, the Bend and La Pine transportation departments and the maintenance facility.
The attached document shows progress to date. This document will be updated daily on our website at about 5 p.m. until work is complete.
“Once all of this is finished, we will be able to make decisions about delays or changes to Tuesday’s school schedule,” said Superintendent Shay Mikalson. “At this point we are hopeful that classes will resume for most, if not all, students on Tuesday.”
Mikalson says that the district will continue to share updates each night by 5 p.m., through Monday, January 16.
Executive Director of Facilities Mike Tiller said that three large rock drilling air compressors, 30 snow blowers and a snow slide are helping to expedite the work of dozens of men and women using snow shovels to clear more than 2 million square feet of rooftops on schools in Bend, La Pine and Sunriver.
“Once snow has been removed from rooftops, structural engineers and staff will complete secondary inspections at school sites where visual evidence of sagging interior ceilings was reported earlier this week,” said Tiller.
“Our community is really rallying around our teams,” Tiller said. “Contractors have joined our removal efforts and some great folks from a local real estate company even dropped by our schools today with warm coffee and hot chocolate for the crews. That kindness really goes a long way to keeping us motivated when temps are in the single digits and the snow is deep.”
Tiller said that once snow is removed from rooftops, crews will begin preparing for the possible flooding that is expected to occur early in the week.
“We have been in close communication with our partners at the city and county who are urging homeowners, business owners and schools to direct melting snow away from structures and clear storm drains and swales,” he added.
More information from our community partners about the anticipated snow melt and flood prevention can be found at Flash Alert.
NOTE: The next Bend-La Pine Schools update is expected to be shared on Sunday, January 15 by 5 p.m.
100 staff members and contractors continue to clear more than 2 million square feet of roofs
Maintenance crews continue to work around the clock to clear snow from more than 2 million square feet of roofs across Bend-La Pine Schools. More than 100 staff members and local contractors will be at school sites today clearing roofs of schools and facilities.
Structural engineers and staff also continue to inspect facilities and roofs throughout the district. The attached document shows their progress to date. This document will be updated daily on our website until work is complete.
This concerted effort to clear snow will allow for further roof assessment at all schools and will prepare the facilities for school to resume as soon as possible.
“Our maintenance crews have been working round-the-clock for weeks to remove snow from roofs and our facilities. While the work is demanding, it is truly a labor of love for our staff,” said Mike Tiller, Executive Director of Facilities for Bend-La Pine Schools. “Our maintenance crews love these facilities and are giving this effort their all.”
One creative Bend-La Pine Schools maintenance staff member used his know-how with metal to create nine roof rakes. Finding roof rakes had been a challenge in town, so Bill Ziegenbein figured out a way to create the devices in house.
Reminder: No school on Friday, January 13.
Athletics and activities updates: All athletic and activities at Bend-La Pine Schools facilities through Monday, Jan. 16 are canceled.
Please refer to the following list of high school activities and events. Approved events will take place as indicated; canceled events will not take place; pending activities may be canceled or moved to another site.
All Bend-La Pine Schools facilities were cleared of students by 10:55 a.m. Students and staff are cleared from the buildings and all buildings are closed.
All activities and events scheduled at school facilities through Monday evening are cancelled.
Bend-La Pine Schools administrators have met with a roofing consultant and several structural engineers who are assessing schools throughout today and in coming days. The following school sites have potential roof load issues and are being assessed today: Education Center in downtown Bend, Buckingham Elementary School, Juniper Elementary School (one building), La Pine High School and R.E. Jewell Elementary School.
The gymnasium at Highland Magnet at Kenwood School is scheduled to be demolished today as a safety precaution.
School maintenance crews have been out during the last several days clearing roofs and checking on drains.
ALL SCHOOLS CLOSED Thursday, Jan. 12. Roof collapse at Highland Magnet at Kenwood School gym prompts emergency closure of all schools to allow for roof assessments district-wide. No one was inside the gym at the time of the roof collapse.
Parents of bus riders, your student will be transported to school. Please pick up your student as soon as possible. Checkout using usual attendance systems. Again, please pick up your student as soon as possible.
All staff will leave schools and report back home after students are clear of the building.
Bend-La Pine Schools classes and activities will be cancelled tomorrow, Friday, January 13 as well.
Thank you for your support and understanding. Your students’ safety is paramount.
Typically, decisions regarding schedule changes are made in the early morning, before school, when current weather conditions can be assessed. We believe students and families are best served when we are open. Our main concern is the safety of our students and staff. Once a decision has been made, it will be communicated as quickly as possible.
School Closure: When schools are closed for the day due to weather or emergency, the school building will not be used. Unless otherwise noted, all evening meetings and activities are cancelled.
Two-Hour Delay: School will start two hours late. Buses will drive slowly, adjusting to conditions and may be delayed.
10-Minute Early Release: Middle and high school students can be released 10 minutes early in order to give the buses extra time to complete routes. In this case, elementary students are released at the regular time.
We will use our text messaging system — BL Connect — to alert parents in the case of an emergency. Examples of when the text alert system would be used after:
This notification will be sent AFTER students and staff have been secured and emergency responders have been notified.
text alert system will not be used in the case of drills, medical
incidents involving specific students or lockouts (in a lockout, school
staff members lock the outside doors, but instruction continues as
General press releases and community releases will not be sent using text messaging.