The District’s Facilities team was hard at work throughout the summer to prepare schools to reopen in September. Extensive work both inside and out were completed at all 112 schools. With the combined effort of approximately 730 staff members, school buildings were cleaned, repaired and many were upgraded to provide a better learning environment for Vancouver students.
For the operations team, approximately 500 building engineers and custodians cleaned, scrubbed, washed and waxed all school buildings. From the floors to the furniture, everything was cleaned with extra care and attention. Staff also inspected all ventilation systems and changed end-of-life filters to ensure a safe environment for students.
The maintenance team, comprised of about 130 staff, were busy retrofitting equipment such as lights, ventilation systems, boilers and fire alarms to ensure everything was in working condition before the return of students and educators. Everything inside schools - gym floors, cafeterias and kitchens, ceilings, doors, windows and elevators - were inspected and fixed if required. The team also took the opportunity while students were on the summer break to install additional hand washing sinks for students to easily maintain proper hand hygiene.
The grounds team who are responsible for the general maintenance and repair of schools’ exteriors were also hard at work. This includes installation and repairs to sidewalks, ramps, playgrounds, drainage systems and fencing to allow for better accessibility to and around school sites. This is also the team who ensures the grass fields are maintained year-round, even during those hot summer days. This year, through the provincial and federal COVID-relief fund, the team had the opportunity to build outdoor learning areas (OLA) where students have a dedicated space to an outdoor classroom. Schools submitted their requests to the District, and through the grant, the grounds team would install an OLA. There are currently 16 OLAs in the Vancouver schools, and the District will continue to install them throughout the year.
With fewer students on site during the quiet summer months, the facilities team was able to get into schools to clean, inspect and repair all the things we usually take for granted on a daily basis. Thanks to the hard work of the facilities teams, Vancouver students can return to a safe and clean school environment so they can focus on what’s most important: their learning.