District responds to increase in rainy weather

Callahan: ‘We block and tackle’

Rain. Hail. Snow. In Southern California?

There has been an increase in stormy weather in both Los Angeles and Ventura County.

“It’s been raining pretty hard on us the past two months,” Director of Sustainability and Maintenance Operations Brendan Callahan said.

According to Callahan, the district not only takes measures in preparation but also takes further steps to monitor the weather.

“We look at the weather reports, probably like everyone does, just to make sure we are prepared,” Callahan said. “Every time we are expecting rain we have a Google Sheet that we use to track leaks. Office managers, principals, or assistant principals have access to [it] if they come across a leak at their school.”

In times of need, the district delegates work to solve any weather-related problems that have the potential to disrupt schools.

“We usually have a roof vender who is on standby. We get our ground staff out to remove leaves, debris, and mud from the drains so that when water comes pouring off of the hills, it can go right into the drain and not back up,” Callahan said.

More preventative measures are put into place, if necessary, to ensure safety and comfort.

“We always try to be conservative and prepare for the worst. [That may] mean putting up a few extra sandbags, running out and clearing drains or even sending a roof vender out to do a preliminary check on roofs,” Callahan said. “Those are all pretty easy steps we can take.”

While the buildings within the district have been primarily holding up well, not every facility has been safe from the recent rainfall.

“[There was] a backed up drain over at one of our elementary schools, or water will seep under the door frame onto the carpet,” Callahan said. “We will have our custodial crew that evening shampoo, wash and dry the carpet so when the students return it’s like nothing happened.”

Callahan gave background regarding a weather-related incident at Red Oak Elementary School.

“We’ve had damage to the drywall at the multi-purpose room at Red Oak due to a leak, and we ended up ripping off the drywall and put new drywall down,” Callahan said.

More light was shed on the leak at Red Oak by Principal Stacy LaFrenz, who explained that the leak could be linked back to when the roof was installed.

“Fortunately, our MPR is all back to normal,” LaFrenz wrote. “The rains have shown us that we addressed the issue and we’ve had much fewer leaks in all of our buildings.”

Sophomore Ethan Grinberg witnessed a leak in one of his classrooms at OPHS.

“[Math teacher Brianne] Hazlewood moved the student who was sitting there and placed a bucket in that area,” Grinberg wrote to the Talon. “A few weeks ago the panels on the ceiling were taken off and it appeared to be in the process of being fixed.”

According to Callahan, he and his department make sure students have clean and leak-free schools.

“My philosophy when it comes to how I view my department is we ‘block and tackle’ so that administrators and teachers can focus on the end goal of educating,” Callahan said. “They know someone else is handling it and that it’s going to be taken care of.”

The district’s measures in correlation to weather-related issues help to ensure that students are learning and lessons are being continued.

“We allow instructors to educate and for students to be in an environment where they can learn best,” Callahan said. “We act with urgency and take it seriously.”

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