48 CES support tri-base school operations

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shanice Williams-Jones
  • 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 48th Civil Engineer Squadron partnered with the Department of Defense Education Activity to ensure the Royal Air Force Lakenheath, Feltwell, and Mildenhall community’s students safely returned to school on Aug. 24, 2020.

48th CES Airmen and base contractors overhauled the five tri-base schools, focused on COVID-safe infrastructure upgrades to support DoDEA school operations, which serve over 2,000 students. The team had only 20 days to accomplish this substantial task.

“Getting the schools ready was an intense focus for us from start to finish,” said Tech. Sgt. Joseph Mace, 48th CES quality assurance technician. “We started the project on Aug.4, and we were very aware that school was to start on Aug. 24. We were able to divert a few personnel to really compress the schedule to meet the deadline.”

More than 300 personnel from squadrons across the 48th Fighter Wing, In addition to 48th CES Airmen, took time to lend a helping hand to DoDEA staff to get classrooms ready for students’ arrival.

“You can’t imagine how grateful I and our school staff are,” said Jesus Caldron, Lakenheath Elementary School principal. “I thought we would have a few volunteers to help out, but I did not expect the turn out we had.”

According to the Center for Disease Control, time out of school is detrimental to a child’s cognitive and academic development, particularly for disadvantaged children. This impact can affect both current levels of learning and children’s future ability to learn.

In addition to COVID safety measures, the renovation team also assessed and cleaned playgrounds, inspected trees for potential safety hazards, and evaluated walking paths to schools to ensure the welfare of returning students and staff.

"I have children myself, and I have Airmen in the squadron that do as well," said Mace. “We want our kids to get back to their academics, but it has to be done safely."