January 18, 2018 – Construction Update

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As a follow-up to yesterday’s meeting, I met again this morning with TDSB and daycare staff, and with Clifford Construction representatives to review additional safety measures to be implemented before project work can resume and be completed. As I noted yesterday, the renovation project is currently paused and officials from TDSB Health and Safety, Clifford, and the Ministry of Labour have been at the school to assess the site and make recommendations to proceed. As you know, we had a very concerning incident this past Monday when a part of the scaffolding became dislodged and struck a student. After a review, we can share that this material was specifically a part of a safety guardrail near the south east corner of the Annex Building. While a definitive cause has not been determined, we are told that weather may have been a factor. In any case, this particular type of guardrail will be replaced throughout the scaffolding with a new tube-and-clamp model.

A number of other significant safety enhancements will be implemented before the project resumes. These include mesh netting extended to wrap around entire scaffolding; a 15-foot extension added to the overhang at north and south entrances of annex; extra “tie-ins” added to further secure scaffolding; and the new guardrails.

Pending completion of these pieces, which we anticipate will take place tomorrow and Saturday, work on the actual renovation could resume on Monday. However, this will only happen with prior approvals from Ministry of Labour and TDSB and Clifford Health and Safety officers. Prior to any project work commencing, the site and scaffolding will be thoroughly inspected by an independent third-party engineering consultant as well as Clifford and TDSB officials. Safety procedures will also be reviewed with all on-site crew. These workers regularly receive extensive and ongoing scaffold-awareness training and are required to follow rigid procedures for work processes. Following resumption of the project, a TDSB Health and Safety representative will visit the site daily, and a Clifford Health and Safety official will be on site at all times during work. Clifford will continue to regularly inspect the site. For your information, they use a checklist to guide those inspections. This checklist will be available through the office for those who would like to review. A TDSB health and safety report will also be available after the Ministry concludes its involvement. Next week, the group that met today and yesterday will meet again to review the resumption of work.

As further precaution, we have developed an alternative evacuation plan to reroute students during any emergency; in addition, the Kindergarten yard will be closed until the completion of this project.  Kindergarten teachers and students will use parts of the school yard other than the kindergarten playground for outdoor activities until the entire project wraps up.

We shared some timelines yesterday for completion of the project. Weather permitting, Clifford has indicated that there are seven working days required to complete the renovation work, followed by another seven working days to dismantle scaffolding and tidy up the site. I want to emphasize that as much of the dismantling as possible will take place when there are no children or school staff present in the building.

I recognize that this project has been trying for all of us, and this week in particular has been challenging. That said, we want you to know that we are more mindful than ever of the importance of safety, and the expectations of safety that we have for our construction representatives and on-site workers.

I want to thank you sincerely for your understanding and for your concern and advocacy. I will continue to provide information and updates as we progress through to the end of this project. However, as always, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.