As the power goes off in students’ homes, SHS hosts extends hours for student center, library

October 14, 2019 — by Andy Chen

School not canceled even though elementary schools and Redwood Middle School get a day off.

On Tuesday, Oct. 8, the last day of the extended October break weekend, many students received a message from Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) detailing the possibility of a systematic loss of power for up to 800,000 customers in the region over the course of the next few days because of increasing wildfire concerns.

Some hoped this meant they would have another day off.

But this hope was quelled after just a few hours, as Jane Marashian, the executive assistant to superintendent Mike Grove, released an email describing the district’s plan in case of a blackout. If the school was to experience power failure, students would only be sent home if temperatures reached dangerous levels, which administrators did not forsee.

As hopes for another day off subsided, students gradually began to transition from wishful thinking to an annoying reality.

“I was hoping to have a fun five day weekend,” said sophomore Bora Alaybeyi, whose house lost power in the blackout, “but that didn't end up happening, so that kind of sucked.” 

Alaybeyi was further disappointed when he received news of Redwood Middle School and the three elementary schools getting a day off. Despite this, he believes that the district’s decision to not stop school was justified.

“High school classes are important, unlike middle school and elementary school classes, which can easily be made up,” he said.

As a result of the power shutoff, students like Alaybeyi found it difficult to complete assignments reliant on computers or wifi. To make it easier for those impacted by said shutoffs to finish their work, the school opened the student center and library to students after school. Those affected were encouraged to stay until 10 p.m. to “work on their homework, collaborate as needed, and connect to the Wi-Fi,” and many students did decide to do so.

Ultimately, Alaybeyi said that the shutoff was a minor inconvenience that the school handled well. The school’s facilities being open to students was especially useful to him, as he was still able to complete his work despite the blackout. Alaybeyi even felt that his productivity regarding tech-involved homework assignments improved, as he knew he had to finish before 10. 

“Even though the blackout is kind of inconvenient, I don’t think a lot changed for me,” Alaybeyi said. “I normally stay in the library for one hour after anyways; I’m grateful that [the school] let us stay longer.”

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