Most Sonoma County schools set to reopen; colleges staying closed

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Most Sonoma County schools will resume classes Friday, after a PG&E-initiated power shut-off forced them to close for two days.

Of the dozens of elementary, middle and high schools that canceled classes Wednesday and Thursday, only six planned to remained closed Friday, including Alexander Valley, Geyserville School District, Sonoma Valley School District, the Sonoma Valley Transition Program and West Side Union School District. While Waugh School District closed for students, it is still running teacher conferences Friday.

The county’s two major colleges also planned to close for the third day in a row Friday.

Although Sonoma State University regained power earlier than school officials expected Thursday evening, the campus will still be closed Friday and Saturday, said spokesman Paul Gullixson. The university’s normal operations will resume Sunday.

The university’s closure affected its 9,200 students, Gullixson said. About a third of the 3,000 students who live in campus housing remained at the school as of Thursday afternoon, with the rest leaving to stay with family and friends during the outage, Gullixson said.

During the outage, the university provided food for students with meal plans, and those without one were able to purchase food there if they did not want to leave campus, he said. University officials also had a power station with 60 charging ports for students, he added.

The power outage led to the cancellation of the university’s family weekend event that was scheduled to begin Saturday and host 250 parents and family members, Gullixson said. No wind-related damage or vandalism was reported at the school, he added.

The Santa Rosa Junior College also planned to cancel all classes and activities on its campuses for a third day in a row Friday because of the shut-off, the school said in an email Thursday afternoon. Nearly 26,000 students are enrolled at the college, which typically holds 59 classes across all its campuses on Fridays this semester, said campus spokeswoman Erin Bricker.

Bricker said the Santa Rosa campus, Public Safety Training Center in Windsor, Shone Farm and Southwest Center all have power. The Petaluma campus, however, did not as of Thursday afternoon.

“Some of our campuses have power and some do not, but the other impacts of these outages are directly on our students and our employees and our staff ... and so we want to be sensitive to their needs as well,” Bricker said.

Two theater performances of “The Good Doctor,” which were supposed to take place Wednesday and Thursday, were canceled because of the shut-off. The college was not sure if their Shone Farm Fall Festival, a free annual event that celebrates harvest season with food and wine, would be canceled, Bricker said Thursday afternoon.

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