Kodiak schools play a big role during a community evacuation. Not only are North Star and the high school designated as places to evacuate to, but the schools are responsible for the safety of Kodiak’s children in case of a tsunami.
Kodiak school Superintendent Larry LeDoux spoke with KMXT’s Maggie Wall about how the schools handled the evacuation, and the extra couple hundred people who sought shelter within school buildings;
A great effort by everybody. Planning certainly helps. A little confusion here, here and there. But all in all, one can only be proud of the response both by the community and by the emergency officials and our principals and teachers and staff, everybody was great.
What do they do with the school when there’s a tsunami warning? Do they keep teaching? Or do they stop, or…
Well we walked around the building today, in some classrooms they were still teaching, although it’s hard to do when people come and pick up your students and take them out. But I went through the building and kids were calm, teachers were calm. Everybody was just sort of business-as-usual. Some classrooms, everybody was working at their desk, and some classrooms, they were just sort of talking and waiting to see what was going to happen. You know, and then North Star and the high school are shelters. And so not only did we have to accommodate the children that we’re taking care of, but also several hundred people that come in and use it as an evacuation shelter.
See, now that was going to be my next question. How did that go, bringing these people in? I noticed from here the parking lot, usually on a school day is pretty full, but it was full and people were parked going up and down the road to near the high school and kind of milling about, but people were welcome to go into the schools. So how did that go bringing all these people in?
Well, people who come into school during a shelter, these are going to the gym the bleachers are all open, or they stay on the floor, we have people that sign them in and sign them out so we can keep track of them, if something does happen. We have a number of the canneries come up here, and they usually separate themselves outside because they don’t want to catch any COVID cases, because they work so hard to mitigate it. And so they usually group up in their own areas, and then they come in and use the bathroom. And we provide water to folks that need it and sort of take care of people. And so we do both. We take care of people that come in and use schools as a shelter and we also ensure the safety of our kids that we’re taking care of. I think one thing to ensure parents is… whenever we have a tsunami alert we take care of the kids. We’ll take care of them, parents don’t need to worry. They’re going to be here until parents come and get them or we get an all-clear but they’re safe at our schools. Peterson had to evacuate to… I call it fleet weather central- back when I was a kid, the Navy was there but the tower is a big area for the Peterson kids and they move right up there as part of their drill. So everybody’s taken care of, and everybody’s safe and I’m very proud of everybody. Everything went very smoothly.