First storm of season wipes out electrical grid

Mackenzie Clarke , News editor

Sequoia’s power supply unexpectedly shut down during the early hours of Friday, Oct. 14 during zero period. Per district mandate, the school is required to have a backup generator for situations such as this; however, that generator did not trigger to come on after the initial power outage at 7:45 a.m.. The head district electrician was immediately called to survey and fix the backup generator malfunction.

“We definitely lost instructional time. I had to shift my teaching schedule to make sure [0 period Calculus] was kept on pace. I had to adjust, but teachers do that all the time—we learn to adjust on the fly,” math teacher Joshua Yezerski said.

The initial outage was the result of PG&E’s widespread power outages during the storm that hit Redwood City that weekend. The storm, which accumulated close to three-quarters of an inch of rain and had winds of up to 20 mph, left over 2500 customers around and including the neighborhood surrounding Sequoia without power Friday morning.

Although the reason is unknown as to why the backup generator did not instantaneously get tripped on, electricians from the district were able to get it back up and running quickly after arriving.

Because the power went out before the start of second period, the amount of classes interrupted by the outage was low, but 0 period classes were still greatly affected by the sudden darkness.
“Everyone was shocked at first and the whole situation was pretty confusing,” said junior Alix Richardson, who was in Joshua Yezerski’s 0 period AP/IB Calculus class at the time of the outage. “We weren’t quite done with the lesson for the day and we had to make up for that lost time the next class period.”
The power was out for around 39 minutes, prompting administration to evacuate all buildings out of concern for safety. Classes were first sent to the MPR, but later relocated to Gym 1 due to its natural lighting until the power was back on.

Although the entire situation only lasted under 45 minutes, many 0 period classes, including Pre-Calculus, AP/IB Calculus and Advanced Dance, felt the negative repercussions of the outage.
With more heavy rains expected in the upcoming fall and winter months, the school is taking precautions to ensure that students’ learning will not be hindered by nature again.
“Any situation that occurs that we have not experienced is an opportunity to learn,” said Administrative Vice Principal Gary Gooch. “I’m sure that the district office, who handles the generators, has developed a protocol that will avoid these kind of things in the future.”