Please use the information that follows in conjunction with the information that was shared a short time ago.
In the fall, a concern was brought forward about the air quality at Green Meadow. The Maynard Public Schools and Town Facilities team immediately worked with the Department of Public Health and an independent contractor to determine that, according to the reports provided, the learning environment was safe. There has been a subsequent evaluation, done by the Teacher’s Association, that largely confirmed those reports.
Still, something wasn’t right. There are a number of teachers and staff at GM that reported continuing concerns about air quality. The School Committee, Dr. Gerardi and the Facilities Director have continued to work to resolve these concerns.
Last Friday, a concern was brought forward about asbestos. Water has been infiltrating through a failing roof and into the Kindergarten/Preschool wing. Once again, school leadership and the facilities team have worked to determine the severity. In the last week, members of the School Committee, the school administration, Facilities Director, DPW Director and others have participated in more than 10 hours of building walkthroughs, planning sessions and conference calls to come up with a plan. This plan is what is being communicated on the town website and on the school department News Feed.
Right now, what we know is that when the roof leaked in the Kindergarten wing, it made pieces of ceiling tiles fall in a classroom. These tiles may contain asbestos due to the age of the building and the materials that were known to be used at the time. Some repairs have been made to the roof, but it's an old roof. Rather than wait for it to leak again and damage more ceiling tiles, we are going to shut down the old wing of the school and safely rip out all of the old building materials and replace them with a modern drop ceiling. Air quality is another concern at the school, so we are going to move forward with adding air purifiers. We are evaluating a number of options and vendors. The leadership has worked with our insurer to file a claim, the claim has been approved, and funds are available for remediation and repair.
I’m certain that there will be many questions that have not been answered. There are several steps of this plan that are still being analyzed in conjunction with the Facilities Department, our staff professional organizations and the administration. Updates will continue to be provided as soon as additional information is available.
I have been contacted by many members of the community through email and social media. When possible, I have responded to all individuals directly and honestly. I have also seen the conversations online, or been made aware of them. I want to reassure the community, as much as possible, that the School Committee has always had the best interest of our teachers, students and staff at heart. Many groups have been working behind the scenes to resolve these concerns quickly and safely.
The next few weeks and months are going to be hard. We are committed to working with all groups to minimize the disruption to the GM community as much as possible while making the building a safer place for world class teaching and learning. As soon as the relocation plan, developed with our Teachers Association and building leaders is finalized, it will be shared with parents and other people who are involved in the educational process.
Thank you for reading this and for your patience and understanding going forward.
Chair, School Committee