Several schools in Durham Region and Toronto will be closed to students and staff on Tuesday with no access to power after a storm tore through Ontario over the long holiday weekend leaving many in the dark for several days.
The Town of Uxbridge, east of Toronto, has declared a local state of emergency due to storm damage, with some buildings reduced to rubble and streets blocked by uprooted trees, downed power lines and broken telephone poles.
“It’s been non-stop really,” said Uxbridge, Ont. Mayor Dave Barton.”We’ve had hydro crews on the ground 24 hours a day to get us reconnected. We’ve got about half the town connected to power right now.
”We had major communications problems … when you lose power, you lose cell, you lose data.”
The Durham District School Board (DDSB) says seven schools will not be open: Uxbridge Secondary School, Uxbridge Public School , Joseph Gould Public School in Uxbridge, Goodwood Public School in Uxbridge, Lincoln Avenue Public School in Ajax, E.A. Fairman Public School in Whitby, and Valley View Public School in Pickering.
There will be no virtual learning for students at those schools as many students may still be without power, the school board said.
“The decision to close these schools has been made to protect the health and safety of students, parents/guardians and staff as electricity is needed to safely operate a school,” the board said in a statement issued on Monday.
Downed power lines and light poles, shingles ripped from roofs, cars smashed by debris and piles of wood and branches everywhere. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Uxbridge?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Uxbridge</a> <a href=”https://t.co/YQBpgCEEms”>pic.twitter.com/YQBpgCEEms</a>
The school board says it anticipates to reopen all schools on Wednesday.
“School custodians and DDSB service providers will be clearing downed trees, broken branches and debris in schoolyards. There may be some modifications to recess and lunch time based on this impact,” the DDSB noted.
The Toronto District School Board said A.Y. Jackson Secondary School will also be closed Tuesday due to power outages. Students will be expected to participate in asynchronous learning for the day.
Saturday’s storm generated winds of up to 132 km/h, knocking down power lines and downing trees. At least 10 people across Ontario have died as a result of the powerful storm.
While Environment Canada sent out an alert warning people of the storm, the fast-moving system caught many off-guard.
More than 150,000 Ontarians still without power
More than 150,000 Ontarians are still without power as of Tuesday morning with crews having restored power to nearly 480,000 people, Hydro One spokesperson Tiziana Baccega Rosa said.
In Uxbridge, about 27,000 people remain without access to power alongside 31,000 in Peterborough and 9,000 in Newmarket.
“There’s still a lot of work to do in that area to get power back to everyone,” Baccega Rosa said.
“We do continue to tell customers depending on where you’re located and the severity of the damage affecting you it still may be a few more days before you have power.”
Our crews and utility partners continue to get the lights back on for the 196,000 customers without power. It’s been a difficult couple of days with widespread damage and outages, and we’re doing everything we can to rebuild the grid as safely and efficiently as possible <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/ONstorm?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#ONstorm</a> <a href=”https://t.co/wJmJsbCbY6″>pic.twitter.com/wJmJsbCbY6</a>
Baccega Rosa said the “severe and destructive” damage seen in the province is concentrated in pockets of central and eastern Ontario. The challenge for crews remains cleaning up debris before they can restore power to residents, she said.
Meanwhile, the number of hydro poles reported to be broken is growing significantly, with 1,400 broken poles seen as of Tuesday morning, up from 800 the previous day.