Newfoundland schools will reopen Thursday
Premier Kathy Dunderdale says power supply will permit schools to reopen
Schools in Newfoundland, including post-secondary institutions, will reopen Thursday, said Premier Kathy Dunderdale.
"Things are progressing as we hoped they would," Dunderdale said in a news conference Wednesday afternoon, referring to power restoration efforts by utility workers.
The premier thanked parents for their patience.
"I know the last couple of days have been challenging, especially if you have had child-care issues," she said.
Schools closed for three days
The schools have been closed since Monday, giving students an extended Christmas break, in order to conserve power while utility workers work to stabilize the island's power system.
Post-secondary institutions, such as Memorial University and the College of the North Atlantic, have also been closed since Monday.
Darrin Pike, the CEO of Newfoundland and Labrador English School Board, said that heating systems in schools across the island were activated on Tuesday, and that switching on of power seemed to go well.
"One step at a time, because the fear from our perspective, is that we wouldn't want to bring students in — have all systems come on at one time — [and] overload the system to cause a shortage of power, and then have to send students home," said Pike.
Officials monitoring power usage
Pike said schools were switching on other electrical systems on Wednesday, and working with utility officials to monitor the added load on the grid.
Pike said the power outage caused some damage to several schools.
"We had a number of schools with pipes broken and we're fixing and repairing those," said Pike.
The province said that it will announce later on Wednesday whether schools will open for the remainder of the week.
Pike acknowledged that the three days of school closure has been difficult for families.
"Having to manage your normal life and schools not being opened is a huge challenge for parents," said Pike.
"Competing conflict for us, is that we really need to have high confidence that when we power up the schools, it's going to stay powered up."