The maintenance staff here at Grace plays a fundamental role in keeping our school running. Their jobs are difficult ones that require a lot of time and effort. With the help of Ms. Ward, we were able to interview Cammy Ollivierre, the Facilities Manager at Grace, and learn more about the responsibilities of the maintenance staff and how COVID has affected them.
Their daily routine consists of coming into the school building early in the morning to make sure everything is up and running for that day; they check the boiler, HVAC and ensure that the ventilation systems are operating properly throughout the day.
The maintenance staff started preparing for the 2020 school year long before it started in September. Over the summer, they prepared the building for students by making sure that the seats and desks in all of the classrooms were 6 feet apart as well as adjusting and removing furniture to maximize space. They’ve also done well in repurposing certain areas of the school so that students can safely maintain their social distance while also having a space to learn and thrive. For example, they’ve converted the cafeteria, MPR, and business office — as well as any other rooms that can be used to accommodate 8 or more students — into classrooms. This same procedure has been implemented in the Middle School building, with maintenance staff utilizing spaces such as the library and Tuttle Hall by converting them into classrooms.
The most crucial addition to the maintenance staff’s routine has been sanitation, which requires staff members to sanitize door handles, rails, and bathrooms every hour. Sanitization is also the most difficult part of their job because, under COVID-19 guidelines, the school must be sanitized on a strict schedule which leaves less time for the many other tasks that the maintenance staff must complete each day. Another addition to the Maintenance Staff’s daily routine is checking and maintaining the portable sinks and purell dispensers that are located all around the school. “These are things we are focusing on because this is what is in demand at the time,” said Ollivierre.
When asked what students could do to make their jobs easier, Mr. Ollivierre stated that students should utilize the portable sinks and purell dispensers as well as maintain social distance. “Our priority is keeping everybody safe and that starts with sanitizing and social distancing,” he said.
In addition to his usual routine, Ollivierre loves to interact with students and teachers and has enjoyed having face-to-face conversations with people at school again. “Once you have that one on one conversation, most people walk away satisfied. My goal is to put smiles on people’s faces.”
When asked how the Maintenance Department contributes to the Grace Community, Ms. Ward, the director of Grace’s international exchange program and board coordinator, said “They are always focused on the bigger picture of why they do what they do and they do all this work for the people — you, me, my kids, the teachers, the staff. They are the caretakers of this big family of ours and I am always grateful for their eternal can-do attitude and sunny dispositions.” The Maintenance Staff keeps Grace running and we owe them a huge thanks for working behind the scenes to ensure that everything runs smoothly during these unprecedented times.