Planning to be Careful

Throughout the last days of what ended up being a shortened in person school year, admisntrators across the Omaha area were closely monitoring the developing situation of a Special Olympics basketball game in Fremont that raised concerns surrounding COVID-19. The woman who tested positive for the virus participated in the games. As health officials and the state governor stated, the virus is mild in most people, but a real concern for the elderly and those with underlying health issues.

Administration met on a daily basis been and worked with health officials and state leaders. The health department asked the participants of the Special Olympics event at the Fremont Family YMCA to self quarantine. Spectators and other people who were in the YMCA facility that same day were at a much lower risk than direct participants, but even non-participating individuals were asked to self monitor. The school also began to immediately reach out to see who in the community participated and made sure they are aware and following the recommendations.

At the same time that the districts were continuing to monitor developments around COVID-19 and plan their steps which eventually led to an early closure, the district also felt it was important to reach out to all of the families in the district to make sure that everyone ws getting the same information. And while it may have seemed like the decision whether or not to suspend in person classes was the only thing on everyone’s mind, it is important to note that several of these same districts were also preparing to go to ballot with bond issues that would help upgrade some of the older district buildings. And in a time when the most current air exchange systems are important to the health of staff members and students when they do return to the buildings, it is important to note that the bond issues are going to provide some of the best chances of making sure that the buildings are ready in the fall.

So at the same time that many districts were making the decision to transition to remote, electronic learning, they were also preparing to take advantage of the extra time to begin schedule construction projects. From slab jacking that needs to be done before a new floor is put in to cement raising that allow many parking lots and playground areas to be more effective, the weeks when children and staff were suddenly out of the schools meant that many districts are planning to finish their projects earlier than originally planned. Concrete floor grinding and cement raising are loud and cumbersome tasks that often must be completed before renovations can occur, and in an older school building the addition of a few extra weeks to a schedule means that completing a project on schedule is more likely. And given that concrete grinding services are in such high demand, it is important to note that cement raising a other services need to be scheduled as early as possible.

Concrete raising was originally called mudjacking or slabjacking, and is a process that has been in existence almost 100 years. With a new mane to more accurately reflect the kind of equipment that is used and the kind of work that is done, cement raising and concrete leveling are important prep building work that must be completed. Finding a way to use an existing surface is a popular renovation technique that is not only being used in schools, but also in restaurants and other spaces with large common areas. In fact, because of concrete’s excellent durability and performance, polished concrete flooring has quickly become a popular alternative to marble, granite, tile and linoleum for many commercial facilities. And while some concrete can reach strengths over 20,000 pounds per square inch (psi), the average concrete strength is about 3000 psi. Concrete is used more than any other manmade material in the world, and while traditional mudjacking requires a minimum wait of 24 hours, and as long as two to seven days for new concrete, raised concrete can be used immediately.

Timing is everything, so it should come as no surprise that school districts across the nation continue to work on their plans.

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