Friday Update from FBISD Superintendent Dr. Charles E. Dupre (2/19/2021)
Once again, I am writing as our FBISD community faces the aftermath of an extraordinary situation. While I hope that this communication finds you and your loved ones warm and safe, I am fully aware that many of you are prioritizing your family’s immediate needs: boiling water, fixing pipes and water damage, and caring for others.
Fort Bend ISD is currently in assessment mode, and in many ways, this is similar to the recovery efforts we experienced in the days following Hurricane Harvey in 2017. We are hoping to resume district operations Monday, but we will take staff readiness into account, as well as a full assessment of our buildings, as we make these decisions.
We will share our plans regarding next week’s operations no later than Sunday afternoon, so please continue to check your email and the District’s website for updates. Most importantly, please continue to take care of your family’s most immediate needs.
Assessing our Buildings and Systems
Assessing all of our buildings will take some time and this process will continue over the weekend once freezing temperatures have abated. I want to thank our facilities, operations, and child nutrition team members who have been working during this extreme weather event to address any needs that have come up. In a District of 170 square miles, our teams have been faced with many challenges while assessing buildings.
A few things to share about the ongoing assessment of facilities:
Over the last couple of days, members of our facilities teams visited each campus to inspect for any damage caused by the freezing temperatures or the loss of power. We know that several campuses were without power for extended periods of time, and as expected, we have found that some water lines and chiller/heating units are in need of repair. Please be assured that our staff members are working as quickly as possible to assess all buildings, as it is important we understand the full scope of damage so that we can prioritize repairs.
In anticipation of events such as these, the District’s large mechanical systems are equipped with fail-safe electronic devices that are installed to protect the equipment. When the devices work as designed, systems shut down in order to protect the equipment, but once they are triggered, they require a manual reset before the systems can be operated. Additionally, the systems cannot be checked and reset until temperatures are above freezing for a few hours and electrical power is restored.
Staff have also been assessing water breaks inside and outside of our buildings, but this has been a challenge as sometimes new issues may arise after a building has already been assessed. We anticipate that Saturday, once temperatures rise and remain above freezing for several hours, our facilities team will have a much better idea of any potential issues that could impact our ability to reopen schools.
At the same time, our Child Nutrition Staff is also working alongside our facilities team to assess all food at each campus, as the prolonged outages have affected some of our supplies and we will need to work with our vendors to ensure that we have adequate supplies to resume our meal services.
We will continue to keep our community updated as there is more information to share. In the meantime, please know that we will get through this together as an FBISD community, and our staff members, students, and families continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.