WHY you may ask?
Dr. Schuster emailed her daily update on the HMS mold remediation progress to the D181 community at 6:15 p.m. It is copied below. FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, she states that before HMS can reopen, representatives from the architecture firm of Healy Bender and the Dupage Regional Office of Education will complete a walk through on Monday "as an extra measure to ensure the school is ready."
IS SHE KIDDING???
Why would Healy Bender OR the ROE need to "complete a walk through?" Why are their eyes needed to "ensure the school is ready?" What has their involvement been in the mold remediation process that has kept HMS closed since January 17? The answer is NONE!
At last Monday's Board meeting, Healy Bender got the Board to approve nearly $400,000 in soffit work and wall replacement work still needed to close open air gaps at HMS that are allowing cold air to enter the building. But those gaps will still exist when school reopens because the repair work is not scheduled to happen before then. But that's it for Healy Bender's involvement with this crisis! They are not a mold remediation or water extraction company. They are not the air quality and swab testing company. What can they possibly do on Monday to "ensure the school is ready" to be reoccupied by teachers and students?
What about the ROE? Yes, it has been involved in helping Dr. Schuster's administrators understand the requirements of the school calendar and has facilitated getting the permissions needed from the Illinois Board of Education to allow split shifts at HMS. But that's it! They have NO AUTHORITY of any kind to dictate whether or not HMS is "ready" to be reopened.
Did Dr. Schuster EVER allude to this type of "walk through" being needed or required in any one of the THREE board meetings held in the last two weeks to discuss the HMS crisis? Did she EVER say ANYTHING publicly or in any of her "daily updates" about adding an extra step to the long mold remediation process BEFORE the school could be reopened to students? NO SHE DID NOT!
WE ARE OUTRAGED!!
Why should the HMS students be forced to miss another 1/2 day of instructional time on Monday? If the building is ready for TEACHERS to be in the building on Monday morning, it should be ready for the students!!
This leaves us scratching our heads and asking if Dr. Schuster is really so blatantly irresponsible to the educational needs of our students that she thinks she can test the patience of the D181 HMS parents with this ridiculous extension of split shifts at HMS? Or is something else behind the need to keep HMS closed until Tuesday? Let's not forget that tomorrow is Friday, followed by a weekend. Perhaps Dr. Schuster is once again planning to leave town for the weekend and would not be back in time for a Sunday night "Open House." Certainly the community would expect that she be physically on site for this event.
We all deserve an explanation, because the "spin" and new "condition" that must be met before HMS reopens to students is ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE!!
It is time for parents to rally. Call your D181 Board Members and DEMAND that HMS reopen on Monday, February 3. Write them signed letters demanding accountability! We cannot sit back now and allow our students to lose any more instructional time. This would not be in the best interests of anyone, except perhaps Dr. Schuster.
Here are the phone numbers and email addresses for the D181 Board Members:
Marty Turek: 630-654-1506 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jill Vorobiev: 630-325-9452 email@example.com
Mridu Garg: 630-468-2989 firstname.lastname@example.org
Gary Clarin: 630-920-9001 email@example.com
Brendan Heneghan: 630-920-9271 firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Nelson: 630-323-8472 email@example.com
Glenn Yaeger: 630-887-7909 firstname.lastname@example.org
Email from Dr. Schuster:
"January 30, 2014
Dear District 181 Community,
This is our latest update regarding the progress at Hinsdale Middle School. Today, the SERVPRO crew continued the duct cleaning (to be finished mid-day tomorrow), completed another cleaning of the MRC carpets, and continued work on the floors in the science labs, second floor hallways, and stairwells adjacent to the Student Services office. The temporary heating units will leave the school tomorrow. Final cleaning will take place tomorrow and conclude on Saturday.
Integrity Environmental Services will begin sampling on Friday evening; they expect to have results in hand either Sunday or Monday. (We will post their report on the HMS Facility Updates webpage with the previous reports we have received.) The Integrity experts have expressed their confidence that, based on previous testing they have completed, the school will be cleared for student and staff use.
As an extra measure to ensure the school is ready, we have asked architects from Healy, Bender & Associates and representatives of the DuPage Regional Office of Education to complete a walk-through of the school on Monday.
With this timeline in mind, the final day of the split schedule with Clarendon Hills Middle School is very likely to be Monday, February 3. HMS staff would have the opportunity to be in the school Monday morning, we would hold the Open House Monday evening (6:30 – 8:00 p.m.), and classes would resume at HMS on Tuesday, February 4. It is still possible this timeline could be shifted, but we feel confident that HMS will be open to students next week.
We will continue to provide daily updates until that time, and we look forward to welcoming the community back to HMS!
Dr. Renée Schuster