ARUSD Cancels Classes Because of PG&E’s Impending Blackouts

School’s out for at least 12,000 kids in San Jose’s East Side because of PG&E’s widespread power shutoffs, which are scheduled to hit the South Bay at 8 tonight.

The Alum Rock Union Elementary School District—home to 26 preschool-through-eight-grade campuses—told students to take today and Thursday off because of the outages. Alum Rock Superintendent Hilaria Bauer issued a notice about the closures on Tuesday.

“As you are well aware, beginning (Wednesday), PG&E has informed the city of San Jose that they may shut off power in sectors of the city,” she wrote in a letter to families. “Unfortunately, Alum Rock Union School District is located within those sectors.”

Even though some schools may have power, Bauer said the district offices will go dark and therefore cannot provide emergency support and other services. She said she’d provide another update at 4pm Thursday.

The East Side school district is one of many throughout the Bay Area that called off classes for at least a day or two because of the scheduled outages.

The Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) issued an advisory later in the day saying that it’s up to each local district to determine whether to follow ARUSD’s lead.

“As our community experiences the power outages, we are recommending that schools follow their district power outage protocols when outages occur,” SCCOE Superintendent Mary Ann Dewan wrote in an email to reporters Wednesday. “Every district has a unique school safety plan for each site and will declare closures as they make determinations based on the safety of their students.”

Campuses have received prior notice and will advice their respective families of closure schedules, if they are canceling classes for the outage, Dewan assured.

“Schools are listed as critical facilities that will receive an advance warning from PG&E,” she added in the same communique. “Once such information is received, each district will decide whether to move forward with the school day and notify families of its decision. The safety and security of our students is the utmost concern, and this will be the major factor in the decision-making process.”

PG&E’s landing page for the blackouts has been overwhelmed with enough traffic to shut it down, so the city of San Jose created its own site where residents can check which specific addresses lie in an outage zone. According to PG&E, the outage will impact 38,000 customers in Santa Clara County. That amounts to many more individuals impacted because most customer accounts represent multiple people.

In a press conference this morning, city officials urged residents to check its social media accounts and website for the latest news about the power shutdowns. They also advised people to avoid driving because of the outage affecting traffic signals.

For the duration of the shutdowns, which are expected to last five to seven days, the city will operate three community resource centers for people who need charging stations, snacks, first-aid and other assistance during daytime hours.

PG&E will also host a resource center at Avaya Stadium with seats for only 100 people.

San Jose has been preparing a power vulnerability plan for the past several months and will provide multiple press briefings each day of the blackout at its Emergency Operations Center, 855 N. San Pedro St. Click here for the city’s latest news.

This article has been updated to include a statement from SCCOE.

2 Comments

Leave a Reply