Class began as normal with students retrieving their homework and starting on two conversion problems. Then the room began to shake. It took me a few moments to register what was happening, then once I realized it was an earthquake I told the students to get under their desks. From what I have read online the shaking lasted about 45 seconds, but anyone who was there knows it felt much longer.
The room was still unsteady when the fire alarms started to go off. I had my students wait a few moments so I could relay information. I had them take their backpacks, cautioned them to be careful, quick, and calm. My students were excellent. It took me a few moments to grab my phone, keys, and name sign and I was one of the last down the stairs. Students were exiting very quickly and taking it well. One girl's backpack fell open and three boys stopped grabbed all her things and kept walking.
My students met me at the bottom of the hill, our prearranged meeting location and sat quietly. I answered any questions I could about earthquakes and what was happening. While we waited in the sunshine we could hear and feel aftershocks. I am very proud of my students for staying calm and sharing phones so that others could try to get in touch with their loved ones.
After the buses had arrived students walked calmly to the bus loop and got on the buses to go home. Students that drove to school and had their keys were allowed to get in their own vehicles and drive home. On the whole, I am amazed how calm everyone was during a situation that does not frequently occur in Virginia.
Currently all buildings are locked and being patrolled by the local authorities so any belongings left by students are safe. When students are allowed to re-enter the building that information will be passed along. Please enjoy your time off until school resumes the Tuesday after Labor Day.
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