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The coronavirus outbreak has thrown a wrench into the school year for St. Vrain Valley School District students, but while kids are at home, there’s a silver lining in all of this for some district staff.

According to Brian Lamer, the district’s assistant superintendent of operations, without students at schools, maintenance staff have been able to work with relative ease on projects that would have normally had to wait until the summer months. And even then, he said, summer school still had to be taken into consideration.

“There’s always a backlog, there’s never enough time for all the (maintenance) work orders that we do have,” said Rick Ruffino, executive director of construction and maintenance at St. Vrain Valley School District. “We’ve been able to go in and do more work now, because the normal flow of stuff is not coming in. So we’ve been able to work down a lot, and that’s been great.”

And for larger projects like at Longmont High School where crews have been working on a two-year project affecting much of the building, Lamer said, workers have been able to take advantage of an additional month. Ruffino said, though, that some physical distancing and other precautions have put somewhat of a damper on additional progress.

“The bottom line is, yes, we’re able to get more done, but because of the checking and staff-sizing and so on and spacing on our construction, it’s taking a little longer on that side,” he said. “But because there’s less involvement with the school population, we’re gaining time on that side. So it’s a little bit of both.”

Lamer added he and other administration are looking forward to the day, whenever it may be, that students will be able to come on campus and return to the classroom.

Gov. Jared Polis, though, signed an executive order Wednesday suspending in-person learning at schools for the rest of the academic year. And on a Tuesday call with superintendents from around the state, he said that, while he expects classes to resume in fall, school officials should be prepared for the possibility that students won’t return to campus.

“We’re excited about students coming back in the fall, and we want students, when they get off the bus and they walk up to the school — it”s like a fresh start and a new school,” said Lamer. “I just kind of picture that in the back of my mind — a student walking up to the school and having the grounds just be perfect.”