High school students in Newfoundland and Labrador’s capital are scheduled to go back to class for the first time since a massive snow storm buried the city over one week ago.
About 7,000 students are expected to return to school Monday in St. John’s and throughout its greater metropolitan area.
Tony Stack, director of education for the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, said a decision on when the city’s remaining 21,000 students will return to school is expected to be made later Monday.
“We’d hope to be in a situation where they all can return Tuesday, but we will look at that and make a determination tomorrow,” Stack said in an interview.
He said the idea of a phased-in return, which was made in consultation with municipalities and emergency management officials, is to ensure safety as the city continues work to clear its snow-clogged streets.
“We know that the primary and secondary roads are open but there’s a lot of places where buses go down that are still very narrow or not cleared. We felt that this staged, phased approach was the best way to reintroduce traffic to the roads.”
Stack said road conditions have necessitated bus route adjustments, adding that students with special needs whose streets haven’t been cleared will not be picked up by alternate forms of transportation.
Schools in eastern parts of the province reopened last week and Memorial University, its Marine Institute, and the College of the North Atlantic campuses in St. John’s were also expected to reopen on Monday.
St. John’s, which saw a dump of more than 76 centimetres of snow Jan. 17, lifted an eight-day state of emergency on Saturday.
Also Saturday, the RCMP reported that they’d found the body of a 26-year-old man who went missing at the height of the blizzard.
Joshua Wall vanished after leaving his home for a friend’s house in nearby Marysvale on January 17th. His body was discovered off Roaches Line, about 70 kilometres west of St. John’s.
As life gradually returns to normal a number of municipal politicians say they are seeking assistance for millions of dollars in storm-related costs.
Premier Dwight Ball has said the province would request financial assistance from Ottawa to help recover costs to communities and infrastructure.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2020.