Schools ready to serve as shelters : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

[By the way, Milwaukee Public Schools will be holding a series of educational seminars on Y2K, with the emphasis on family and community preparedness. They left hundreds of flyers at the Expo.]

Schools to be ready to serve as shelters MPS also may delay start of classes if there is Y2K crisis, officials say By Joe Williams of the Journal Sentinel staff February 18, 1999 Preparing for the possible havoc computer systems could wreak at midnight New Year's Eve, the Milwaukee Public Schools will be prepared to open many of its schools as emergency shelters if needed, administrators said Wednesday.

The district also is considering a delay in resuming classes after the holiday vacation next school year to give the district a chance to restore calm before schools reopen.

"Shifting the date on which school resumes to later in the week could minimize or eliminate any potential problems," according to a report presented to the School Board on Wednesday night.

A recent audit of MPS operations by the accounting firm Deloitte & Touche raised the issue of preparedness for the year 2000, and the School Board asked administrators last month for a report on how the district has been preparing for Y2K.

Concerns nationwide have surfaced over whether computer systems will be prepared to handle the changes of the year 2000 after midnight on New Year's Eve because many computers may fail when the date changes from 99 to 00. Some have worried that gas and electric utilities in particular will not be prepared.

Many MPS school buildings would be available to serve as shelters should the need arise, officials told the School Board.

Administrators emphasized that they don't anticipate serious problems. They hinted that they are being thorough in their plans because the district's actions could be the subject of litigation.

"We would not like to create a situation where people think the sky is falling," said Robert Nelson, director of technology for MPS, who assured the board that any problems would likely be very minor.

Still, school officials made it clear they are taking the challenge seriously.

"We all know what we'll be doing on New Year's Eve," said Superintendent Alan Brown. "We'll be here, eating pizza, waiting for the Apocalypse."

Students in MPS normally would be required to resume classes Monday, Jan. 3. But concerns over year 2000 problems have school leaders planning for the worst.

"Ensuring that bus drivers for school buses will be available if school resumes on Jan. 3, 2000, is expected to be problematic," the administration's report says. "Shifting the first student attendance date to later in the week is expected to minimize or eliminate this potential disruption to service."

Among Y2K issues outlined for board members:

The district intends to purchase power generators in case Wisconsin Electric Power Co. cannot provide power to the city after New Year's Day. Testing and operation of existing emergency power generators are also scheduled to be completed before December.

Board member Warren Braun joked that school officials should have to disclose whether they have any financial investments in firms that produce generators since the district will be buying so many.

Top administrators may be asked to be on duty "during the millennium transition."

Food service workers may be able to use additional days before students return to school in January to stock shelves with food. Because of the potential for power failures, they will attempt to limit the amount of perishable foods that are stored over the holiday break.

Provisions are being made to stash payments that are usually made to outside groups in case those groups are unable to process those payments. The plans include payments for the IRS, Social Security Administration and Department of Public Instruction.

The district will spend an unspecified amount of money to improve communication systems for administrators.

"The most critical system that will be addressed with added investment is communication," the report says. "Community leaders must have the ability to interact using fail-safe communication systems. This will enable the mobilization of intervention strategies in a coordinated manner if needed."

The record managing system for special education students is obsolete and should be replaced because it is not Y2K-compliant. The district is planning to replace the system by 2002.

Administrators noted that many of the district's computer systems have been purchased in recent years and are ready to handle the jump into 2000. The district has been working on the issue since late 1995.

-- Steve Hartsman (, February 18, 1999


Thank-you, this was also posted 20 threads down.

-- None (none@none.none), February 18, 1999.

UntilI saw their plans for generators and perishable foods/food storage, I was very skeptical. They did address those two things = good. What about heat? Bedding/blankets/privacy curtains/etc.? (Aren't those sometimes provided from the Red Cross/FEMA/etc. groups when schools ar eused as shelters?

Basics too - if things down for a while: toilet paper, water, cleaning facilities (no gym showers in an elementary school!), dishes/service equipment maybe from the cafeteria for a while, but what about disposables? How long will they last?

Oh by the way - think now nationally - about what these guys have done, but have lots still left to do. Now, what about everybody else? Will they all be able to buy enough generators to serve 250 million civilians at every school in the country? Realistically, grant that most areas may not lose power (we hope) so how do they get generators from not-needed to needed areas, if power is sporadically going on and off.

Which areas are "not needed?"

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (, February 18, 1999.

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