Squirrel + transmitter = early weekend.

Power outage at MA

School day ends early; blame the squirrel

Minnehaha Academy experienced an unexpected power outage Friday, Oct. 15, that led the school to close early for an extended weekend. Xcel Energy reported that a squirrel got into a Minneapolis transmitter which caused the power outage for nearly 18,800 people, including both North and South campuses. Upper School Principal Nancy Johnson and a team of administrators decided to end school early once they got news that the power outage could last up to four hours.

“It was absolutely the right decision,” Johnson said, “…with some of our classrooms and almost all our bathroom facilities unusable, and with darkened hallways and the unavailability of our normal means of communication throughout the building, the decision to close was made in the interest of our students … that is always our first concern.”

For the students, the unexpected long weekend was happily accepted.

“My initial reaction to the power going out was sweet!” said senior Preston Howell. “Looks like we have school with no power, but I quickly realized we wouldn’t be able to have school if it didn’t come back on quickly… when it got canceled I realized I was hungry so the power going out gave me a chance to eat a yummy burrito at Chipotle!”

Fortunately the power outage, which struck just after 11 a.m., only lasted about an hour and a half. For their unexpected long weekend, students at the North Campus can thank a squirrel, whose actions got it killed.

The students at the South Campus, however, did not have the day off.

“Teachers and students adjusted and went on with the day,” said seventh-grade English teacher Joy Werner Johnson. “Classes continued as scheduled, and most of them were held in their regular rooms, since we have natural light and emergency lights. If the rooms were too dark, classes were held elsewhere in the building. Lunch was served on disposable plates, and lunch numbers were recorded by hand. I myself adjusted my lesson and continued to teach using the old-style white board.  I know others made similar adjustments.  The locker rooms were quite dark, and Mrs. Elhardt had to use her cell phone or a flashlight to light up padlocks so the girls could see to open their lockers.”

The power at South Campus did not return until around 2:30, after an outage of about three-and-a-half hours.

by Erin Mortenson

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