The August 25 Meeting Was Dedicated to Shane Thomas, Marcia Haskin
By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter
The Palisades Charter High School Board of Trustees conducted another lengthy virtual meeting on August 25 lasting more than four hours, filled with a plethora of public comments and agenda items, including whether the Maggie Gilbert Aquatic Center could reopen.
“After the pandemic hit in mid-March,” Director of Operations Don Parcell began, “the Los Angeles Unified School District as our landowner/landlord [had] closed all their campuses and shut down all activities on the [Pali] campus unless they were essential to school and educational purposes. Our athletic facilities in general, and even some of our non-athletic facilities that might be used by community groups and things like that, have all been closed down because of LAUSD.”
Recently, LAUSD has started to reconsider accommodations with countywide COVID-19 numbers trending in the right direction, Parcell continued.
The Sunday open-air Melrose Trading Post at Fairfax High School (a district school, not independent charter) reopened in early August, he stated as an example.
The LA County Department of Public Health has allowed pools to open, as long as they follow guidelines and a set of rules and regulations.
“The pool is a very unique situation for Pali,” Parcell explained. Although LAUSD owns the ground and the land, the physical improvements at MGAC are owned by Pali High.
These improvements were built and paid for largely by donations from the late Maggie Gilbert.
“We own those improvements,” Parcell said. “The pool is ours and therefore, it’s a little bit unique compared to the gym or the baseball field or the football field or any other areas or buildings around the campus.”
LAUSD has given a bit of an allowance for that reason, Parcell explained, saying “you guys technically own the pool but it’s on our land and so if you will sign a waiver of liability and completely indemnify LAUSD and follow the LA County Department of Public Health guidelines for reopening pools and in general and do all that type of stuff well, and get the permission from the LA County Department of Public Health that they are OK for you to open the pool, then you know, if you guys want to we will allow that to happen on our land.”
Parcell presented the actual waiver of liability and indemnification to the board, having already passed through the attorneys and back and forth with LAUSD.
The bottom line is that it’s a fairly typical waiver of liability and indemnification, Parcell said. It means that Pali High is responsible, not LAUSD, if anything happens, and Pali High will also have to fight on LAUSD’s behalf.
Specifically, the board voted to have Principal Dr. Pamela Magee sign the waiver and indemnify LAUSD for the purpose of reopening the Maggie Gilbert Aquatic Center.
When asked about the use of an additional waiver anticipated for groups or individuals entering the pool, Parcell replied that there would be a waiver for people entering the pool to sign from the standpoint of trying to protect the organization as much as possible.
The pool, as well as other facilities, cannot be used for any Pali High’s sports teams whatsoever, Parcell said, whether it is to start working out or practicing with students. The pool also cannot be used for competitions.
The pool will reopen only for community use by using safe distancing guidelines, such as minimizing the number of people in each lane.
Before starting the meeting, Magee spoke a few words acknowledging the loss of two “very wonderful and important people” from the Pali community, dedicating the meeting in their honor: Shane Thomas and Marcia Haskin, who both recently passed away.
Thomas, a member of the graduating senior class, was described in the meeting as a passionate soccer player who had a contagious smile and could always be counted on to support all of his friends and family.
Haskin served twice as Pali’s school principal: “Pali will always remember Marcia for her strong belief in counsel,” members of the board shared.
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