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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #19-72
October 31, 2019
Contact: Scott Roark
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Joins Governor Gavin Newsom in Visit with Educators and Students Impacted by PG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoffs

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond joined California Governor Gavin Newsom this morning at Blue Oak Elementary School in Shingle Springs to meet with administrators, teachers, and students impacted by PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoff. The school took incredible measures to stay open during the outage, such as using lanterns and manual student tracking and communications and having dedicated fire watch staff due to disabled fire alarms.

Thurmond commended the school’s resilience. “In the face of these unexpected power outages, your school staff stayed committed to keeping the doors open to your students,” Thurmond said. “I do not accept that the new normal is 10 years of power shut-offs that jeopardize the education and safety of our students and communities. What I do accept is that climate change exists. We must double down on alternative energy sources and alternative building materials for our schools and harness the brainpower of the world’s fifth largest economy to combat extreme weather conditions. We understand health and safety is at the heart of deciding to keep a school open, and I applaud the remarkable efforts by some schools to keep children in class.”

Future proposals may include rethinking the traditional school calendar and building in makeup days to deal with not only natural disasters but unplanned power outages. In addition, Governor Newsom has proposed a $15 billion bond to fund back-up generators and solar panels to keep schools open during an unforeseen power outage.

“School closures affect families differently. Some families may not be able to make arrangements to stay home with their children or have healthy meals available at home. These students may be the same students that need school the most,” Thurmond said. “We are working closely with Governor Newsom and other partners to ensure we provide these critical services to the families of California.”

Impacted schools or expanded and early learning care programs can contact the CDE Emergency Services Team at for further assistance.

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Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

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