TWAS (This Week at St. Joseph) – July 10, 2020
I hope that you had a wonderful 4th of July weekend and that you are staying cool.
It has been an absolutely crazy busy start to July for me. Typically, this is the slowest month of the year for a principal – not so this year. There are many things happening that are keeping me hopping.
This past week we began the process of interviewing applicants for the role that Emily Hagen has filled so beautifully for the past 4-years. We had over 40 applicants – that’s a record! After spending hours reviewing countless worthy applicant materials, we decided to conduct interviews in 3-rounds. Round 1 was a written interview. 20 questions were asked of the applicants and their responses were submitted electronically. Names were redacted from their responses and a review team of 7 people scored each of the interviewees. From there we are granting in-person interviews. The plan is that we will have our new front office person in place early next week.
Also this past week, we had three personnel changes. Mrs. Nicole Safratowich was hired as our new Art teacher. Mr. Curt Heldt was hired as one of our new custodians to help keep our building beautiful. And, as I mentioned early in the week, Ms. Macki Fadness announced her resignation as she is moving to Florida! She was a dynamite teacher and we will miss her greatly, she taught Middle School Social Studies! Thank you for sharing your wonderful talents with us Ms. Fadness.
Finally,we have big news to share in the world of our Preparedness Plan for the fall. I am working on our school Preparedness Plan for reopening our school in just 7 short weeks. The plan will address four domains.
Domain I: Promoting Behaviors that Reduce Spread
Domain II: Maintaining Healthy Facilities
Domain III: Maintaining Healthy Operations
Domain IV: Communicating, Training and Educating
Let me begin this series of communications on our Preparedness Plan with something that is happening in Domain II, Benchmark D. I will get to other domains and benchmarks over time, please be patient. ??
Domain II: Maintaining Healthy Facilities
Benchmark A: Cleaning and disinfecting efforts
Benchmark B: Adequate Supplies
Benchmark C: Separate physical space for students/staff who may have symptoms of COVID-19
Benchmark D: Engineering Controls
Benchmark D states that schools will monitor ventilation systems such that they operate properly and increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible. One of our challenges at St. Joseph is that we do not have operational windows to let fresh air into our building. The CDC is recommending that we have 80% fresh air in the building when we re-open. Currently, our HVAC system operates at a level where 20% of our air is fresh and 80% is recycled. With the help of Chuck Palm, a parishioner who is an expert in HVAC systems, we have investigated a system that will allow us to introduce up to 100% fresh air in the building each day, depending on humidity levels, temperatures, etc. There are a lot of details that I can share about this system and it will be much easier to do this via video, podcast or in person – so I will plan to do this in the near future. For now, I want you to know that the School Board, Parish Council and Parish Finance Council have supported this plan and we are moving forward with this project. The project upgrade will start asap and will continue for several weeks – perhaps even into the first week or so of school. In the end, our facility will “Breathe” better and so will we. The best part of this is that once we get out of pandemic mode, the regulators on the HVAC system will be energy saving and after a few years they will pay for themselves. This project will be paid for using Capital Funds as well as some of the funds we raised this past year. There will be a return on this investment over the years as we get out of pandemic mode and move into energy savings mode. The estimate is that within 4 years of normal operation, these will pay for themselves.
I want you to be informed so that if/when others ask you about it, you will be able to share the good news.
Stay cool and let’s be Remarkable Together!
Have a blessed weekend!