UPDATE 6 p.m. January 18, FAQ
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 (Jan. 18)?
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 - it was tested and no asbestos was found.” 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.