by Joseph Han
Since December of 2019, the Covid-19 pandemic has been threatening the health of people around the world, often restricting the things we would normally do every day.
One of the activities restricted was going to school for students, since the virus is highly contagious and could be critical for a place where students are very exposed to each other. However, the American School of Warsaw already had its students returning to school starting from August.
We interviewed Mr. James Young, who is the Finance Director of ASW, for the details on reopening the school, and how much financial investment had to be made.
Warrior News: How much (approximately) did it take for the school to open during a time of a crisis?
Mr Young: We spent approximately PLN 1.5m on facilities projects before returning to school. This is typical for a normal year but this year health and safety actions were prioritised when deciding what projects to do.
The major projects were:
Entrance card readers
Air Purifiers for music classes use during lessons
Multi-person work areas mitigation/Plexiglass
Bottle filling stations
No touch Soap and Disinfectant Dispensers
Thermal Cameras at entrances
Automatic Sliding Doors Main, ES, MS, HS entries
Disinfectant Spray Machines for Cleaning Department
COVID informational stickers and signage
Fencing blocking access to back fields
Ventilation Units Replacement on main building roof
Health Services Locations created for each cohort
Warrior News: Was there any specific hardships that you or the school had to face during the reopening?
Mr. Young: Time constraints presented the most difficult challenge. Time was short to decide what was to be done, conduct a bidding process, select suppliers, and receive the goods or service. We were finishing installations up to the day before school started.
Mr. Young Which things cost the most when preparing the reopening? If so, why did it cost a lot?
Mr. Young: Automatic Sliding Doors at the Main, ES, MS, HS entrances were the most significant investment.
Warrior News: How good does the future look for ASW finance regarding the corona situation?
Mr. Young: The school maintains an Emergency Reserve Fund for unexpected situations like what happened with COVID so we were financially prepared. The Board has authorized the use of some of these funds to manage the COVID crisis. After these expenditures ASW remains a financially healthy organization. It is important to note that ASW is a non-profit organization and 100% the School’s funds are dedicated to supporting the mission of the school.
Warrior News: After the reopen, what came to you as very rewarding for your efforts to help students come to school again?
Mr. Young: Seeing the students coming through the doors on the first day. Every day coming to ASW and feeling the buzz of students and staff in the facilities. That is what makes ASW special and a joy to come to everyday. We must appreciate the staff behind the scenes who worked extremely hard over the summer to get everything done such as the Purchasing, Facilities, Cleaning, and Security Departments. They deserve a big “thank you” when you see them around.
. . .
Reopening in late August, ASW is one of the earliest schools to reopen for its students during the Covid-19 crisis. The school had been in online learning for 3 months. This school year, they are helping students return to school safely by weekly testing and taking extra measures to prevent an outbreak.