Message Regarding Last Week’s Power Outage

I should’ve provided the ARHS community with an update about the power outage we experienced last week. My apologies. What follows is a summary of the day’s events.

Early morning power outages are not uncommon. And most are resolved with, literally, a flip of a switch. So, early Monday morning, I wasn’t that concerned when I arrived to school. We had people promptly working on the problem and I assumed that there would be quick resolution.

Around 6:45 or so, I received word that the problem was not at all routine. Our own equipment, rather than the electrical company’s, had malfunctioned and repairing it would take most of the day.

At this point, our buses were already on the road and students would start arriving by 7:15. So, our thinking moved on to how to ensure students’ safety and make the best of the day.

Here, it is important to note that the school has a back-up generator. So, hallways and stairwells have light, allowing for safe transitions. Classrooms, however, do not.

As students entered the building, all administrators, guidance counselors and deans were deployed throughout the building to ensure that students arrived to class safely. All window-less bathrooms were locked and students were directed to those that had natural light. And we began setting up a land line to establish phone communication.

With everyone in their A period class, I visited approximately 10 second floor classrooms. Without sunlight – the day was completely overcast – all the classrooms were completely dark. I had difficulty identifying students who were sitting in the back rows.

Generally, I would rather have everyone in school. Not having internet access or having to eat sandwiches for lunch are not reasons to stay home.

But, however much I would have preferred the day to be a lesson in resourcefulness and adaptability, safety is always the overriding concern and it was clear we couldn’t maintain it. So by 8:15 or so, my discussions with superintendent turned to figuring out how to mobilize the bus companies to take students home. Noon was the earliest both of the companies could return the buses to the high school, which is what ultimately determined our dismissal time. Lastly, we were able, prior to dismissal, to provide all students with sandwiches for lunch.

I hope this helps. If you have other questions or concerns, please let me know.

Thank you

 

Mark Jackson

 

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