The staff, students, and families at West Oakview were amazing this morning as they dealt with electrical power issues caused by the storms last night. Power was partially restored to West at about 6:30 a.m. this morning and we knew that Consumer's Energy crews were in the neighborhood working on a downed power line. We rolled the buses with the believe that full power would be restored before students arrived at school.
At about 7:50 a.m., when our students were already on their bus or in a parent vehicle and on the way to school, power went out completely at West Oakview. This meant we had no phones, no lights, no ability to flush, and kids who were already starting to arrive. Power company crews needed to cut power in order to cut tree limbs before reattaching a downed power line. They could not guarantee a time for power to be restored.
We made the decision to cancel school based on safety concerns. As parents who drive their children to school arrived, we asked them to take their children back home due to the power outage. The response from our families was very positive and appreciative. Well, maybe the kids had a bigger smile on their face than the parents.
As the buses arrived and students were escorted down dark halls to their classrooms, the West staff took over. Every child who arrived at school was accounted for and their names highlighted on class lists. Some students who have breakfast at school were treated to "camping" food and breakfast by flashlight. Staff then began to call parents and explain why we needed them to come to school and pick up their children. The families responded.
As each student was picked up, their name was announced and a cheer from staff and students erupted as the student exited the building. Not all families were able to pick up their child and staff drove those students home. Our transportation department sent a bus back to West to transport students to East Oakview Day-care. Even with this very efficient process, we did miss transporting one student to day-care. After several calls from a day-care provider to school one of our staff members drove the student to the right spot.
I was at the school from 7:40 - 9:40 a.m. and witnessed first hand the strong relationship between the West Oakview staff, parents, and students.
Of course the power was restored at 9:20 a.m. But then it could have been off all day. We just couldn't be sure and made our decision based on the safety of our students. While I was unsure if the power would return, I was absolutely sure that our kids were in the hands of very capable, dedicated, and passionate adults at West Oakview.
Someone reminded me that we haven't even reached the winter weather yet.