Lights Out, School’s Out: More Power to Mitty

Shedding light on Mitty’s recent power outages and a brighter future.

When the lights went dark around noon on Tuesday, March 14, a general state of confusion settled over much of Mitty—even in the cafeteria since none of the student lunch payments could be processed. Power outages are occasional, disruptive occurrences: they happen every few months at Mitty, perhaps for a few minutes, but everything returns to normalcy. However, this time, power wouldn’t be restored until more than a day later.

Immediately after the power went out, the administration met to determine how to proceed. They couldn’t end school early since there was no safety hazard; thus, they had to decide how to get through the school day’s last period. They relocated classes in rooms without natural light—four classrooms in the 400 wing and the 800 wing—to empty ones with windows. Eventually school ended, and students headed home, some without power there as well.

It wasn’t until evening that Mitty received a message from PG&E confirming what many already suspected: power would not be back at school the next day. With that, school was canceled. Many students gratefully took the opportunity to sleep in while the administration was scoping out the logistics for the next few days. Though power wasn’t predicted to come back until Thursday, it returned Wednesday afternoon. With this came a new problem: what would Mitty’s schedule be on Thursday: 1234 or 5678? The original decision announced to parents and teachers was to change the schedule to 5678, due to fear that this class block would fall behind compared to the first. However, according to Ms. Kate Caputo, “The faculty really felt like that they wanted to do periods one through four again,” since “two classes would be off cycle” if the original plan was approved. Heeding their request, Mitty sent out another email including students, and it was settled.

The next day, school resumed, and everything almost returned to normalcy. For most students, like sophomore Brooke Hulbert, the power outage permanently affected their class calendars and schedules. Brooke reflects, “Because of the toggling between 1234 and 5678 for the day we returned to school, my teachers had to keep switching their calendars. Even now, some of the calendars don’t match with our class plans, which can be quite confusing.”

The administration continues to plan how to be better prepared for future power outages. Mr. Jim Fallis believes that experience serves as a guide for planning for future outages, since the administration debriefs after every issue to improve their future responses. Many preplanned courses of action have been set up, and Mr. Fallis shared, “We’ve already placed extra lights on campus, particularly in the kitchen.” Though this isn’t a way to stop outages from happening, it can mitigate the effects of power outages.

As Ms. Caputo reflects, “It’s never a dull moment around here, and that was just another day where something unexpected happened. We rolled with the punches, and I think some people had a really good day off, and other people worked really hard. Like so many things at Mitty, we were able to positively move forward and restart a good plan for the rest of the year.”