Live wires downed due to a wind storm forced École North Oyster students to stay inside, leading to an extra long day of school Thursday. BLACK PRESS file photo

Children stuck late at North Oyster school due to downed power lines

Students weren’t allowed to leave until the evening yesterday

Live wires downed due to a wind storm forced École North Oyster students to stay inside, leading to an extra long day of school Thursday.

A weather system brought strong winds and caused damage across the Nanaimo and Ladysmith area, including falling trees, which took out some power lines near the Ladysmith-situated school around 3:30 p.m. yesterday, according to Andrew Scruton, a parent and North Oyster Volunteer Fire Department firefighter, who directed traffic during the incident.

Dale Burgos, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools spokesman, said wires and trees were downed on each side of the road that surrounds the school, leading to safety concerns as no one could enter or exit the area.

“It got into the evening time where the remaining students that were in the school, were able to be picked up by parents, but again there was a procedure in place where emergency services personnel would escort just a number of parents at one time to the school, so they could pick up their child and escort them back safely to the … parking lot,” said Burgos.

While there wasn’t power in the school, Burgos said, there were plenty of lights, water, food and it was warm in the school.

Scruton said the children were allowed out around 6:30 p.m.

The children had an extended school day and it was for something that isn’t an everyday occurrence.

“They were fine,” said Scruton “They just thought it was exciting because they were very well taken care of in the school.”

RELATED: A dozen schools in Nanaimo-Ladysmith closed

RELATED: Winds whip up havoc across Nanaimo region

RELATED: More than 90,000 remain without power on Island

Burgos said the school district follows school closure protocol in incidents like this.

“That one in particular wasn’t something that, in my recollection, we had experienced. However, right away, what happens is when it’s not safe outside of the school, and that’s for let’s just say, wild animals, anything like that, we keep the kids and staff inside, and that would be like a ‘shelter in place’ situation … nobody inside is allowed to go out and nobody outside is allowed to go in and really that’s what it was,” said Burgos.

École North Oyster is closed today, along with 11 other schools in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district – busing is also cancelled.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

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