Apr 3 2020

School District Response to Neighborhood Concerns Regarding High School Construction and COVID 19

April 3, 2020
Dear PCA,
Thanks for your inquiry.  We appreciate the opportunity to address your questions, and our responses follow:
  • What is the School District doing to inform construction workers of requirements for social distancing and other COVID – 19 practices?

Overaa Construction, the District’s general contractor, issued detailed protocols to all workers for individual and community health and safety, posted information at each entrance to the job site, and provides reminders at each staff meeting.

At this phase of the STEAM project, workers are dispersed across the roof and the interior floors, and there is abundant space for proper distancing while working.  Workers wear personal protective equipment, including gloves, and avoid sharing equipment, tools, and other items. The jobsite is stocked at all times with hand sanitizer, hand soap, diluted bleach in spray bottles, paper towels, and disinfecting wipes, and workers regularly wipe down communal surfaces as well as tools and equipment.  Also, the jobsite trailers are now single-occupancy.

On April 2, it was brought to the District’s attention that several workers were on a break and congregating on Magnolia Avenue without proper social distancing.  Overaa’s foreman immediately halted all work and called an emergency meeting for all workers, spaced at least six feet apart from each other. The foreman again reviewed the protocols and told workers that there would be no warnings — that any failure to comply would result in immediate dismissal.  Overaa followed up with an email to all workers to reiterate the protocols and consequences for noncompliance.

Given the indefinite school closure, the District is enlarging the fenced area around the jobsite, to provide more space for workers to meet and have lunch and breaks outside.

The School District and Overaa are committed to keeping the workforce and jobsite healthy, and it is evident that the great majority of workers take these protocols seriously and earnestly comply.

  • What is the School District doing to enforce construction workers’ social distancing, smoking, and parking in the residential neighborhoods?

Enforcement of the health and safety protocols is addressed above.  In addition, security cameras at various locations on the jobsite make it possible for Overaa and the District to monitor compliance.

The District is not aware of any illegal parking by the workers.  With the closure of schools, most workers are parking in the School District’s Permit A spaces near the jobsite.  Those who do not park in Permit A spaces typically park at Zion Lutheran Church on Park Boulevard, and take a worker shuttle to and from the jobsite.  Workers have been instructed that, if they do park in neighborhoods, they must follow the posted restrictions. If you are aware of any illegal parking, please snap a photo and send it to us so we can follow up.

Similarly, the District is not aware of any illegal smoking by workers.  Smoking is not permitted on School District property and this rule is strictly enforced.  Nonetheless, smoking is legal elsewhere. If you are aware of problems, such as workers discarding cigarette butts, please snap a photo and send it to us so we can follow up.

  • Is the School District asking the Piedmont Police Department to enforce orders?

As noted above, Overaa will enforce the health and safety protocols with its workers.  The School District and Piedmont Police Department are in frequent communication about enforcing the shelter–in-place order, primarily concerning groups of people who trespass at Witter Field (which is closed) and do not follow social distancing directives.

  • While construction workers attend to their work tasks, are they wearing protective masks at all times?

The advice on masks is evolving quickly.  Each worker has an N95 mask but is not currently required to wear it at all times.  If public health mandates change, Overaa and the District will ensure full compliance.

Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have further questions.

Pete Palmer 


PUSD, Director of Facilities/Construction Manager
Piedmont Unified School District
           760 Magnolia Avenue
           Piedmont, CA 94611    510-594-2877 office

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