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Public Safety Power Shutoff Cancelled in Marin & Additional Information

Dear Mill Valley School District Community,


As you may have heard, the PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) that was originally planned to impact Marin County on Wednesday, November 20th is now cancelled for Marin County. However, below is some information outlining District plans for future power outages as well as the J13 waiver for instructional minutes process.


We understand your concern with the PSPS and the impact on your child’s learning. Please know we are committed to serving our community, and keeping schools open is our goal. The Board of Trustees recently approved the waiver of instructional minutes, and has tasked administrative staff with exploring ways to ensure less disruption for learning in the future.


According to the State of California, school districts are required to provide at least 180 days of instruction. When this requirement is unable to be fulfilled due to situations such as a PSPS, there is a process for which districts must adhere. This is done through applying for a waiver of instructional minutes. These FAQs from the California Department of Education are a good resource for understanding more about the waiver of instructional minutes. 


The safety of our students and staff is our first priority. When power is out, our fire safety system and communication systems become unavailable. We are working on several temporary measures to address these needs. During a PSPS, some parts of normal school operations are not affected. These include water, restrooms, building access, natural light from windows, and doors. The district has safety lights and flashlights as well as small generators that may power cell phones and small appliances. However, these generators that we currently have are not able to power fire safety or communication systems. As a long-term solution, we are exploring alternate power sources to allow for fire safety and communications both internally and externally. 


Under our current school calendar, there are no additional days for our staff to provide instruction for students. The consideration of adding instructional days is a matter to be mutually agreed upon with our unions. This school year’s calendar was approved by the Board of Trustees on December 14, 2017. This new reality of PSPS will help inform our planning process for future procedures.


When a PSPS has been announced, the District waits until 5:30 a.m. to make the determination because we make every effort for school to be open every day. If power is on by 5:30 am the day of school, we are able to restart systems. We understand that it may be difficult to plan around child care and commutes. Thank you for your patience and understanding.


We understand the PSPS has been disruptive and concerning for our families, our staff, and students. This continues to be an evolving process for all impacted. We are here to support you and appreciate your questions so we may continue to provide you with the information we have. 


Yours in Education,

Dr. Kimberly Berman