BREAKING – Updates: What’s the deal with the fire?

Robin Hyun and Lauren Edelman, Feature and News Editor

The one topic students cannot get off their mind: the fire.  MV Journalism class interviewed Principal Dr. Kevin Ahern and Assistant Principals Liz Pagano, Kenny Khan, and Cheryl DiGrazia.

What was originally said from the district yesterday?

Dr. Ahern: Yesterday, it was kind of a phase approach.  We were told at 9AM it was a “spare-the-air day” [and] it was going to continue. We were already operating on those assumptions.  Spare-the-air means no outside activities, particularly for more sensitive groups [of students].  The official announcement almost didn’t come out until noon.  After third period, our PE teachers felt that it was important that we should bring students back [inside] right around noon time yesterday.

That’s also how we’ve operated today. Students we’re also given a choice yesterday to stay [inside or outdoors], which I thought was fine.  The director of the district said: “No, they don’t have a choice. Students need to be inside,” and asked us to have all PE activities indoors.

Are there any updates from the district?

Dr. Ahern: We just received an announcement about five minutes ago that all outdoor activities and contests this afternoon will be cancelled.  Students will be inside during lunch and we have a number of different spots for students.

Ms. Pagano: For example, the freshman the football game [is cancelled].

Mr. Khan: We just got this from [super intendant] Rick Schmitt.  The district is talking about all outdoor extracurricular activities and that we will  continue to monitor and assess the air quality.  We will make a decision later today regarding Friday’s activities and communicate with all parents and staff.

We heard that some of the freshman had to run yesterday?

Dr. Ahern: That was before the directive .  Students were given the option of running, walking, or sitting out and they could make up.

Mr. Khan: Yeah, during Thursday access.

Dr. Ahern: People didn’t have to [participate in the activities] and also I believe there was a misunderstanding [with PE teachers].  Obviously, they acted before the directive came in.

How is air conditioning being addressed?

Dr. Ahern: The dilemma is that our district protocol is that we shut down all air conditioning because it brings in outside air.  We inquired about letting the internal fans go, but 15% of the air is recycling smoke air into the classrooms.  One of the teachers [asked if] they could use the library or consider other locations if it’s too hot.

Ms. Pagano: Some people have already scheduled the library and there aren’t enough fans for every classroom.

Mr. Ahern: People who asked early got fans.

Do you have any estimations regarding how long these regulations will last?

Mr. Ahern: It all [depends] on the weather.  Basically, if we get a south wind all the smoke out, but if we have a north wind, not only will it make the fire worse, but it will also push the smoke down to us to everyone in the NorCal area.