Most PEI students back to school following Fiona

All but nine schools opened on PEI Monday, as students were back in class for the first time since post-tropical storm Fiona struck the Island on Sept. 24.

Students missed a full week of school while the province worked to clean up and restore power.

The schools that are not open Monday are:

  • Cardigan Consolidated.
  • Donagh Regional.
  • École Évangeline.
  • Montague Regional High.
  • Prince Street Elementary.
  • Queen Charlotte Intermediate.
  • Queen Elizabeth Elementary.
  • St. Jean Elementary.
  • West Kent.

In some cases, schools — in particular the four elementary schools in Charlottetown — are closed not because of damage to the school itself, but because debris in the surrounding area makes it unsafe for children to be walking.

“We had some broader concerns raised by our partners with the city, Maritime Electric, the utilities, just about a lot of trees still down, some wires down, and needing to ascertain whether these wires were electrical wires, cable wires, and we didn’t. ‘t feel comfortable,” said PEI Public Schools Branch director Norbert Carpenter.

A view of the damage at Queen Charlotte Intermediate after the storm. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

Montague Regional will reopen Tuesday, and Cardigan Consolidated students will be moving into that school on Wednesday. The roof at Queen Charlotte is still being repaired, and the PSB hopes students will be able to return there mid-week.

The province has launched a website that will be updated twice a day with information about school openings.

With all the disruptions in the last two years, Carpenter said the timing of Fiona is frustrating.

“We just got the routine of fall started after COVID, and this happened. When you think of our early learners, our kindergarten students, are only learning their routines,” he said.

“We just need to get some solid, consecutive weeks in school, where teachers can do their jobs and students can learn.”

Red Cross shelter

The Canadian Red Cross opened a disaster shelter in Charlottetown on Saturday.

The shelter at the Murchison Center is open 24 hours a day, providing power, food, water and personal hygiene kits, as well as a warm place for people to sleep. Hot meals are being provided by local caterers.

The Red Cross is attempting to balance supply and demand. Uneaten meals are distributed to those without access to housing who are living in encampments in the city.

Charlottetown cleanup

Fallen trees have created a particular mess in Charlottetown, where many residents are still without power and streets are lined with brush that residents have dragged to the curb.

Scott Adams, manager of public works for the city, said crews are working from sunup to sundown to clear trees that are blocking roadways and sidewalks.

He said those crews are grateful for the support they’re seeing from residents.

A street lined with brush.
A street in Charlottetown is lined with brush as residents clean up following post-tropical storm Fiona. (Kevin Yarr/CBC)

“A lot of our staff themselves had to leave their homes, didn’t have power,” said Adams.

“They’d be working in the street and you’d have people come out, offer them pots of coffee, offer them meals, hot meals. It was just a phenomenal thing.”

A release from the city Sunday said almost all municipal roads have now been cleared, while 13 parks and playgrounds remain closed due to damage.

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