Move designed to help province conserve energy
The Newfoundland and Labrador government has decided that schools on the island will not open Monday and Tuesday in order to help conserve energy.
Memorial University’s St. John’s campus. — Telegram file photo
The decision applies to all public K-12 schools in Newfoundland as well as post-secondary institutions. Schools in Labrador will open Monday as per usual, unless extenuating circumstances present themselves.
The news release jointly issued by the departments of Education and Advanced Education and Skills said students attending private institutions will need to contact their respective schools to find out if classes will go ahead Monday.
A massive power outage this weekend left more than half of Newfoundland Power's 257,000 customers without electricity at one point. That number has since been reduced substantially, but the electric utility company has been requesting that residents conserve energy to aid the province's electric system as it is restored.
Earlier Sunday, the City of St. John's issued a statement on behalf of Mayor Dennis O'Keefe and the city council that called on government to keep the schools closed in the interest of public safety.
The mayor of Newfoundland and Labrador's capital city wants the provincial school district and local universities and colleges to keep their buildings closed until at least Wednesday.
In a statement issued to media on behalf of city council, St. John's Mayor Dennis O'Keefe said city staff and residents are faced with many challenges in light of recent snowy weather and a massive power outage that at one point left more than half of Newfoundland Power's entire customer base without electricity.
“In the interest of public safety, it is Council's recommendation that the English School District, and all post secondary institutions in St. John's remain closed until Wednesday of this week,” he said in the statement, adding that council would continue to monitor the situation and make a further assessment Wednesday.
O'Keefe said the city will continue to make sure residents can access city services and maintain safe roadways.
A warming centre has been set up for residents inside the Foran/Greene Room at city hall.
Metrobus and GoBus Accessible Transit did not operate on Saturday following a heavy snowfall that dumped almost 40 centimetres of snow on the city. Both services were back on the roads as of Sunday morning. Water and wastewater treatment plants have been operating on generator power, and recreation facilities were last open on Friday.