On April 16th, 2018, large portions of the Lenoir City and Loudon areas experienced an extremely widespread power outage. Although many rumors were spread around concerning the cause of the outages, the outages were caused by a tree falling onto a crucial power station at the Lenoir City Utilities Board. The power was out from approximately 11:20 am to 12:45 am at Lenoir City High School, but there were many other areas through Lenoir City and Loudon that were without power for much longer. North Middle School and Eaton Elementary School were not affected by this outage.
At the high school, many of the administration and faculty debated letting school out early due to the blackout, since it would cause a hindrance to most classroom facilities because of heavy use of computers, chromebooks, and Wi-Fi connection. Students were given access to their own personal Chromebooks distributed by the high school this past year, which has created an entirely different classroom setting for most classes at the school. Most classrooms are extremely reliant upon online material and programs.
Administration made the decision to have the students remain at the school until they heard further information from the Lenoir City Utilities Board.
“We don’t have any written procedures as far as whether we go home or not during a blackout. We wait for direction from the central office to let us know whether or not to go,” said Chip Orr, one of the principals at Lenoir City High School. “Mike Simms is the supervisor of our facilities, and I am assuming he was in touch with LCUB to give us updates on the outages.”
The utilities board remains in contact with the high school, as well as their online community, where they provide updates about the outages on their website, www.lcub.com. This source can be very beneficial to anyone curious about power outages and utilities stations.
One of the main reasons they did not let students out was because of safety concerns about the outage, since the outage spread through the city and the county.
“On Monday, we did not want to let people leave because no traffic signals were on because of it, and we didn’t want to let inexperienced drivers out on the road like that,” Orr said.
The main concern during the outage was safety, and hopefully in the future Lenoir City Schools can easily work with the community to keep our students and our school safe during events similar to this.
Photo Credit: Stone Sanchez