Safety Updates: Wildfire Smoke/PG&E outages
As we begin a new school year, student safety and comfort is a top concern. This is also fire season, and it is important that schools and families prepare for both wildfires and power outages. Anticipating these occurrences, we want to provide you with the following information to keep you informed about school safety protocols and to help you and your family prepare.
These air quality guidelines were developed by Sonoma County school districts to provide guidance for how to protect student health when air quality is poor due to a wildfire or other disaster. They offer recommendations for activity levels by air quality indicator and are aligned with the recommendations from coalition of state agencies (including Air Quality Management and Sonoma County Public Health Department) in the spring of 2019. It is recommended that we use Air Now to monitor air quality. Although there is not a recommended air quality number or a state requirement on when schools must be closed due to air quality, we will consider closing schools when air quality reaches the very unhealthy range (200) on Air Now. More information and resources are also provided on California Department of Education website.
As you may be aware, PG&E is prepared to implement Public Safety Power Shutoffs (also known as de-energization) when weather conditions put parts of our community at a high risk for fire. This important precaution is meant to help reduce the risk of wildfires. It is important to note that power outages are not new to our county—indeed, many rural schools regularly experience outages due to inclement weather. Standard practice in the county has been to cancel class if a power outage is expected to last more than two hours.
In the event of a planned PG&E power outage:
Communication We will cancel class for any schools expected to be impacted for more than two hours. Please note, power outages may not impact all schools within our district at the same time. In this case, only the schools with power outages will be closed. If we know the power will be out all day before the school day starts, school is likely to be canceled. We will give families as much notice as PG&E gives us.
Our aim is to communicate our intent to close school as soon as reasonably possible after receiving a notice of an upcoming power outage from PG&E. In some cases, this may come on short notice. As well, if a power outage occurs mid-day, we will handle closures on a case-by-case basis, taking into account factors such as the anticipated length of the outage, temperature, and weather/road conditions. We will use our mass communication system as well as posting on our website to notify families.
In all cases, student safety will be our top priority.
Making Up School Days
Should we need to close school for either of the above reasons, our district will first make up classes by using 1 emergency day built into our school calendar on June 12th.
Following are some resources to help your family prepare personally:
- gov: General Power-Outage Information | Fact-sheet on power outages for kids
- PG&E: Public Safety Power Shutoff (including resident alert notification instructions)
- Preparing for Public Safety Power Shutoff
- Power of Being Prepared Fact Sheet
- PG&E: Emergency Supply Checklist
- California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection: Homeowner’s Checklist
- PG&E: Community Safety Measures