Pinelands Regional Schools to Open on Time

Sep 05, 2017

Sorry, Pinelands students, but you’re going back to school this week. Both the Pinelands Regional High School and Junior High School are opening on time.

The auditorium of the high school building was still covered with plastic early last Friday morning, as it had been for weeks while an asbestos removal project was being conducted. But Pinelands Regional School District Interim Superintendent Maryann Banks and Business Administrator Steven Brennan both said when contacted by The SandPaper on Friday that the high school would open on time, with staff inservice taking place, as planned, on Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 5 and 6, and with students arriving for half-day sessions on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 7 and 8. Meanwhile, seventh-grade and new student orientation at the junior high school was going to be held on Tuesday evening, Sept. 5, while 10th-grade and new student orientation at the high school was set for the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 6, in the auditorium. Put simply, despite rumors in the community, the PRSD schools will open as scheduled.

Those rumors, which had spread more quickly as the month of August drew to an end, had said the high school wouldn’t open until at least the end of September. In the meantime, some gossips said, all students would be taking their classes at the junior high school, necessitating split sessions. Nonsense, said Banks and Brennan.

“We will be opening on time next week,” said Banks on Friday, “barring any unforeseen circumstances. Some board members and I did a walkthrough of both buildings this morning. The auditorium is no longer shrouded in plastic. Our custodial staff will be working over the weekend to complete the cleaning in both buildings. No split sessions are on the horizon!”

“Rumors are not true; school is opening on time,” said Brennan on Friday. “As far as seeing the plastic, it might have been a timing issue because I was over there this morning and it has been removed. The building is totally open and we are in the process of cleaning. … We will be good to go by Tuesday.”

However, there was still plastic covering the roof of the auditorium on Monday morning.

“The plastic sheeting you see on the roof over the auditorium is there for protection against the weather,” said Banks that day. “I visited both schools over the weekend and the cleanup was coming along nicely. We will be open for business tomorrow!”

Indeed, Pinelands was open on Tuesday morning, as confirmed by an inspection by The SandPaper.

The plastic remains on the high school auditorium roof, as Banks explained, to protect it from possible rain. Work there is still going on.

“The roof work will continue into the school year, as was planned,” said Brennan. “Much of the roof work you are seeing includes masonry work on the walls that rise above it. We do not anticipate major disruption to instruction as we are trying to phase the work around the school schedule, but some exterior work will occur during the school day.”

The best news?

“We received an all clear on asbestos,” said Brennan. “You can find the air sampling reports on our website. Here’s the link: You can navigate to it from the main page/about us/health and safety.”

— Rick Mellerup

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