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Acalanes in the Dark: Damaged Power Line Causes School Cancellation

By Ella Alpert, Staff Writer

 // Waking up and running to your window, just in time to see the first snow of the season fall. School is cancelled, and you can spend the day out in the slush. On the East Coast, days like those may be a pleasant reality for students, however, as ruthless fires rip through Californian communities, unofficial ‘power outage days’ are anything but.

   On Tuesday, Oct. 29, Acalanes High School shut down for the day due to a power outage caused by a damaged power line.

   Students used their free time away from school to catch up on assignments, rest, or spend time with friends. For sophomore, Loic Windfuhr-Durand, the power outage ended with mixed emotions.

   “It was fun and it was interesting, but it also threw off my sleep schedule, and my ability to do work,” Windfuhr-Durand said.

  While one day off may seem trivial to students, it posed as a unique challenge to many teachers. Tests and quizzes were postponed, and much adaptation was needed to account for the unexpected day off.

    “It’s the flow that gets kind of ruined, so the extra day at the end of the year, of course that will make a difference but it’s the flow that kind of gets disrupted,” Acalanes science teacher Peter Stewart said, “Everything got pushed back which is hard because it’s really two periods, not one, in terms of if we missed Tuesday, then you don’t see a period for an hour and a half, and that kind of messed up my schedule.”

   There is still uncertainty on whether the missing day will be accounted for on the school schedule. Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD) Superintendent John Nickerson is waiting to hear from the state as to whether or not an make-up day will be necessary.

   “We are not sure yet, so we will have some discussion whether there will be a makeup day of school or whether we will apply to the state for a waiver, given the circumstances, to have them waive, there’s a law that you have to have 180 school days and without yesterday, that puts Acalanes at 179,” Nickerson said.

   Although the decision appeared to be short notice, Nickerson noted that a school cancellation was considered weeks prior to the actual outages.

   “We knew that there was a possibility so we started evaluating what we would do and was it possible to hold school without power in a safe and constructive way,” Nickerson said.

   Despite the recent disruption, Principal Travis Bell feels as though the school is better equipped to handle this situation if it were to arise again.

    “I think we were already better from Campo and Miramonte having experienced it before we even experienced it. I think teachers have probably learned how to adapt,” Bell said, “There are some teachers who don’t use their lights as it is. Having that understanding, knowing what areas are more dark and need consideration.”

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