Oakland High students evacuated to the field on Thursday morning as part of a statewide earthquake drill. Coincidentally, later in the day, two earthquakes shook the East Bay.
Although the school’s official earthquake policy is to “Duck, Cover, and Hold” in the classrooms, students appeared to cooperate with schoolwide instructions to leave their classrooms and assemble on the field.
“You never know when an earthquake can hit,” said Luke Osivwemu, senior. “When it does, everyone needs to know what to do.”
At 2:41 p.m., a 4.0 magnitude quake centered near U.C. Berkeley rumbled through the Oakland High campus. A 3.8 quake would follow that evening at 8:16 p.m.
Many were confused about how to respond to the afternoon earthquake. One teacher allowed her students to leave early after the quake, citing fear of aftershocks. However, assistant principal Ben Schmookler instructed students to remain in class.
“It’s an earthquake! Get down!” yelled math teacher Aaron Low when the first actual quake struck at 2:41 p.m.
“At first I thought it was someone shaking my desk,” said junior Michelle Sou about the quake. “It was surprising because it happened the same day [as the drill].”
Another announcement was made a few minutes later to let the school community know that no one was hurt and there was no damage to the school.
Neither of the two earthquakes caused any serious damage, although they were felt throughout the Bay Area, according to a San Francisco Chronicle article.
The Great California ShakeOut began in 2008 and broke the record for the largest drill in the United States in that year. According to shakeout.org, 8.6 million people participated in Thursday’s drill.
For some students, the drill was a reminder that earthquakes are a regular part of living in California.
“Everybody take care,” said Kiichijirou Estrelon, senior, during the morning drill. “Watch out for earthquakes. Don’t die. See you guys in school.”