Miami Trace Local Schools closed Friday due to an extended power outage in the area that occurred around 6:45 a.m.
Due to the timing of the incident, middle school and high school students arrived on campus during the outage, which was reportedly caused by a blown fuse on a power pole at Old U.S. 35 and Yeoman Road.
“Our maintenance team members went to the site to try to gain some insight from the AES (a company that generates and distributes electrical power) personnel,” said Miami Trace Superintendent Kim Pittser. “We already had students on campus, so the timing was difficult. Our buses that were here on campus kept students for a few minutes on the bus. Our parents here for parent drop-off kept students in their cars until we could figure out whether it was on campus or off campus. At that point, we weren’t for sure what the source was.”
Student safety was top priority throughout the outage, Pittser said.
“We had our administrators in both buildings bring students into the buildings and place them in our commons area. Once we had some lighting, we were able to transition them to first period classes,” she said. “Our maintenance team stayed in contact and Mr. (Rob) Enochs (assistant superintendent) stayed in contact with AES. We talked with them multiple times throughout that hour to try to gauge how long it would take. Our elementary students were not in yet and we had to make a decision.”
Initially, the decision was made to operate on a two-hour delay, but as more information became available, administrators decided to close school for the day. Students at the high school and middle school who had already arrived were returned home via the buses beginning at 8:45 a.m. Parents were able to begin picking up students at 9 a.m.
Later that morning, power was restored campus-wide.
“We just have a few spots that our maintenance team is still looking at,” Pittser said. “This isn’t a long-term problem, just an unfortunate outage at a rough time.”
Miami Trace has used four of its five calamity days to date, including Friday because of the power outage and Tuesday due to inclement weather.
“After day five, we transition to remote learning,” Pittser said. “We put an email out to our parents that this was calamity day number four. Our roads were clear (Friday), but if you don’t have power it’s difficult. Our generators helped because we had some heat kicking in, but it’s just not the same.”
Pittser added, “We appreciate the understanding and patience that we had from not just our students and staff that were here and on their way here, but also our parents. We tried to communicate with them as much as we could, and we appreciate their patience and understanding. And hats off to our maintenance team, they do a wonderful job.”
Reach Record-Herald Editor Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352.