OTTUMWA — Eisenhower and Horace Mann elementary schools both suffered power outages Thursday morning due to a storm that rolled through the region. While a total power outage is rare, each school’s staff is prepared for that eventuality.
At Horace Mann, principal Jody Williams reported that apart from slightly darkened rooms, the day proceeded normally.
“Learning still goes on,” she said.
While the ground-floor bathrooms at that school lack windows, every other room in the building gets enough natural light for lessons to go on, and the hallways are equipped with emergency lighting that activates in the event of a power outage. In one classroom, the students used their district-issued Chromebooks as improvised reading lights.
Since the internet and telephones were down, Williams kept in contact with superintendent Nicole Kooiker by cellphone. Kooiker, then in turn, maintained contact with Alliant Energy and kept them up to date on the situation. The schools also use handheld radios so staff can stay easily stay in communication within the building.
Because of the administrators’ quick response, Alliant was able to get the power fully restored less than hour after it went out.