The power outage yesterday morning had many parents wondering if the schools would be sending their students home. While the outage didn’t persist past 11:00 a.m. in Weyburn, some rural schools in the area did have to close by lunchtime.
The protocol for sending students home is based on a four-hour rule, especially if water services are lost to the facility.
“We didn’t lose any water, we lost power and heat, and some of the rural schools did lose water, and were getting fairly cool, so we made the decision at noon to close 14 schools,” said Manager of Facilities and Operations for Southeast Cornerstone Public School Division, Andy Dobson.
Schools in Fillmore, Lynndale, Midale, Alameda, Oxbow, Carievale, Carnduff, Stoughton, Wawota, Maryfield, Manor, Redvers, as well as two schools in Carlyle, were closed at noon yesterday.
“As long as we have water, that’s the most important thing from Sask Health, because we need to be drinking clean water,” he explained, noting that they will cover fountains and provide bottled water whenever necessary in the schools.
It does get cold, however, once power is out for four hours, particularly in winter.
“If you have no power, boilers don’t work, fans aren’t working or anything like that, and none of the schools have any generators to carry that on without power,” said Dobson.
He said it was an issue they don’t deal with very often.
“This one was a little different for us. When we had that great of area with loss of power, and we didn’t know how long it was going to be, we were hearing 24 hours, and then we were hearing 10 hours, and then we started to have schools come back online, slowly,” he explained.
With power at schools in Weyburn back up by late morning, the students were forced to remain learning for the rest of the day.