While many Chicagoans spent the last few days indoors, sheltering against the cold, the CPS facilities team braved heavy snow and record low temperatures to make sure schools were ready when classes resumed.
Beginning last Friday, facility managers and building engineers had committed to being in schools on Sunday to carefully monitor all heating systems. And when the decision was made to close school on Monday, they remained, working with the District custodians who came in on a weekend to deal with the higher than expected snowfall.
“For days, our facility managers, custodians and building engineers took on every weather-related task, constantly monitoring the situations at our schools and communicating their progress,” said Terry McGuffage, Director of Asset Management for CPS. “Many of them worked 12-hour days, and some even stayed overnight Sunday to keep an eye on the situations at their schools.”
Monday and Tuesday were the same, with the facilities team constantly monitoring heating issues and removing snow from all walkways and entryways.
“Considering the severity of the cold, we saw relatively few heat breakdowns in our schools,” said McGuffage. “But if our team had not been in school buildings over the past several days, we would likely have returned to find burst pipes and more serious heating issues. Their hard work went a long way toward preventing that situation, and was an essential part of managing this severe winter weather.”