As part of the Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E)’s Public Safety Power Shutoff, which was intended to reduce fire dangers, both Miramonte and Campolindo were without power on October 10.
In addition to the inconvenience of the power outage, a fire that began in the middle of the preceding night in the Sanders Ranch neighborhood of Moraga, forced residents to evacuate.
Nevertheless, schools remained open on October 10 throughout the district.
Some students impacted by the power outage and the fire evacuation choose to take the day off from school. According to office staff, 82% of students were present on October 10, compared to the normal 96%. However, the district announced that all absences for the day would be excused.
While some teachers used alternative methods for delivering instruction that did not require electricity, some of their students would have preferred it if the district had suspended school. “It would’ve been just as productive to stay home and do homework,” said junior Colin Hilkemeyer. “Some of the teachers could have done a better job at planning an alternate way to get through the material.”
There were also concerns about student safety on a campus without power. Chemistry teacher Cheryl Rego was concerned with inadequate lighting. “It was so dark and the bathroom situation was not ideal,” so “a good idea would have been supplying classrooms with flashlights,” she said.
The fact that many of their classmates stayed home also impacted those who showed up for the school day. Hilkemeyer said, “In one of my classes, we had a group project and since a lot of kids weren’t there we couldn’t do it.”
Hilkemeyer did agree with the district’s decisions to keep school open however.
Science teacher Jane Kelson believed that administrators made the best of a difficult situation. “I think they did the best they could. They knew we were all uncomfortable but did a great job keeping everything under control,” she said.
Kelson praised the students who attended class despite the inconveniences. “Even after all of this I really appreciated the students resilience. They were great sports and didn’t complain,” said Kelson.