While the pandemic has halted some new school construction projects, most have moved forward.
Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, most new school construction projects have continued apace as leaders prepare their buildings for launch and work with their managed IT service providers to ensure sites are ready for students on day one.
While plans for the distribution of an effective vaccine continue evolving, school leaders have barreled ahead, hiring teachers, communicating with families, and establishing school culture remotely, despite the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic. Managed IT service providers have been there each step of the way, collaborating with building leadership and construction personnel to ensure all school IT needs are met.
IT service providers are on the ground each day, ensuring schools are ready for launch.
Whether installing cabling, switches, or wireless access point, school IT teams are critical to a successful new school launch. In addition to helping procure and outfit any required technology, school IT personnel often coordinate directly with construction personnel and school leadership to sort out installation schedules, troubleshoot any issues that arise during the construction process, and project manage every technology aspect of a new school’s launch, from phones and bell schedules to projector installation and SMART board set-up.
The level of collaboration between school IT teams and school leadership is incredibly intensive, demanding large amounts of time and resources from instructional and non-instructional school staff, who help inform and modulate the installation process as it occurs in real-time. A special education teacher may, for instance, object to having a bell system with a particular noise or to teaching in a room located near a bustling hallway used for transitions.
Working with instructional staff to re-frame or even re-do entire portions of a project plan, while often time-intensive, ultimately support student achievement and help schools further their unique missions. If teachers are happy, kids are more likely to be engaged and focused on their schoolwork each day.
Supervising on-the-ground new school construction is not without risk.
Of course, on-site support is not without its risks during a pandemic. Outfitted with masks, practically drowning in hand sanitizer, and routinely monitored for any symptoms, school IT personnel regularly put themselves at risk to assist schools with their construction and technology installation needs.
Far from surrendering to the pandemic’s indeterminate timeline, school leaders and school IT teams have rapidly adapted to the demands of existing public measures, instituting new protocols and procedures to ensure that school construction remains on schedule, while also maintaining the safety of their team members.
Failing to do so would not only jeopardize the public health of on-the-ground support staff but also significantly delay new school openings and, in turn, negatively impact students and their families. Adapting to existing public health measures, rather than simply pushing back a planned school opening, gives families a degree of certainty in an otherwise uncertain time.
Schools still need to be student-ready on day one.
By maintaining their existing construction schedules, new schools are aiming to be student-ready on day one. This process involves not only installing projectors, SMART boards, and other hardware, but also ordering large numbers of student and staff devices, which, in turn, require increased network bandwidth.
School IT teams have worked closely with school leaders to navigate the global supply chains disrupted by the pandemic. Rather than ordering hardware as they normally do, school IT teams have been forced to engage in significant forward-planning, not to mention creating plans B, C, and D in the event a supplier isn’t able to fulfill an order.
The lessons learned from remote instruction also have the potential to significantly change the in-classroom experience when students return. Rather than scaling back their technology use to pre-pandemic levels, schools may, instead, further integrate remote learning practices such as individual student work time, use of online instructional platforms, and video lessons into their day-to-day practice. These changes will have significant implications for school IT providers, who will suddenly be called upon to consult on a wider range of issues than ever before.
At CTS, we’re supporting new school construction, despite the pandemic’s challenges.
Even as COVID-19 clouds school openings in uncertainty, our team has worked with our partners on the ground to ensure schools are ready to open on schedule. Our team is able to both navigate existing public health measures, collaborate with school leaders to execute their launch schedules in a timely manner, and respect financial constraints.
Remote learning has the potential to fundamentally reshape the learning experience and harness the power of technology to positively impact student achievement. Contact us today to learn more about our managed IT services and how we can help your new or established school accomplish its unique mission.