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    Power or Technology Outage Emergency Plan and Communications
    Posted on 02/09/2021

    Power or Technology Outage Emergency Plan and Communications

    During winter months, utility outages will occur and may interfere with remote learning. Occasionally we may also have unexpected technology outages and network interruptions. Seattle Public Schools has prepared an outage plan to inform school communities how electricity, network, and/or learning platform interruptions will be managed.

    Criteria for shifting the instructional model to asynchronous (offline) learning

    • Individual schools will shift to asynchronous learning if an estimated 25% or more of students at a school are without electricity or learning platform access. School leaders will communicate directly to staff and families.
    • The district will shift to asynchronous learning if an estimated 25% or more of district students are without electricity or learning platform access. Public Affairs will communicate directly with staff and families.

    Asynchronous learning will count as a school day. Central office has provided independent learning activities to support students during an emergency response. The district encourages families to access these resources and independent activities when power resumes or print in advance of an emergency event. Students are always encouraged to read or complete uncompleted school assignments. Schools may also provide guidance on activities or resources for families to use.

    Districtwide Outage Plan and Communications

    • SPS staff regularly monitor weather forecasts as well as technology connectivity.
    • If an outage affecting multiple schools (two or more) is identified, Safety and Security's Emergency Management will call an emergency meeting to analyze the scale and duration of the event. If it is determined that more than 25% of the district’s students are affected, a district response will be implemented.
    • If districtwide outages occur prior to the start of school, a recommendation will be made to the Superintendent and a district decision made by 5:30 a.m.
    • Staff, including school leaders, will receive an email, phone call, and text from Public Affairs beginning at 6 a.m.
    • All families and students will receive an email, phone call, and text beginning at 6 a.m.
    • Public Affairs will also post information to social media, the district websites if possible, and alert the media.

    How should families prepare for a power or technology outage?

    Download and print district provided suggested independent learning activities in advance or when power resumes.

    Schools may also provide emergency learning activities, such as reading and/or journaling.

    What should families/students do if they are affected by a power outage or a network disruption and the school has moved to asynchronous instruction for all students?

    • If possible, notify your child's school. This can be done by calling or emailing the main office, your child’s teacher, or other notification methods specific to your school.
    • Participate in emergency independent learning activities, either provided by the district or your child's school.
    • Document activities and report them to your child's elementary teacher once the power/internet is restored. Secondary students will work with their teachers regarding assignments to be completed.
    • Continue to follow any steps communicated by your child's school or teacher. If 25% or more of the students in a school are determined to have lost power or can't access remote learning platforms, the entire school will move to an asynchronous instructional model.

    Want to know more about what is happening with systems that affect remote learning?  

    Check our System Status page, anytime, for current information on Clever, Microsoft 365, Schoology, Seesaw, and Seattle City Light status links on our System Status webpage.


    Independent Learning Suggestions

    Seattle Public Schools is dedicated to ensuring educational excellence for every student. In the event of a power outage, network outage, or other situation that results in technology not being available, our intent is that learning will continue, particularly in the core academic areas.

    The following list of suggested independent learning opportunities was developed considering a variety of students, including students with IEPs and students who may not have access to technology or other resources during a power or network outage. These opportunities are examples of independent learning activities that can take place at home. There are many great resources to help students to stay engaged academically.

    Schools may also offer guidance and specific learning activities for students.

    Below are general learning opportunities for students and families to consider while synchronous remote learning is not available.

    In advance of an emergency event and if printing is available, the learning suggestions provided in the tabs below are also available for download and printing the district Suggested Learning Opportunities pdf icon.