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Northern Alberta students whose school flooded out have been moved to curling rink, other schools

Almost a week after a massive flood suddenly swept through a Plamondon school, students will be back in class in three different locations.

Just days after a massive flood forced Ecole Plamondon School to close its doors, several partnerships with area organizations have helped to find temporary classrooms. 

The school remained closed on Tuesday, but students were expected to be in their new locations Wednesday morning. Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will move their classes to the Plamondon curling rink and the community hall. Grade 4-12 students will be temporarily relocated to Portage College in Lac La Biche. Preschool programming will be at Ecole Beausejour. 

Northern Lights Public Schools communications manager Nicole Garner tells Lakeland This Week that the school division sent out an update to parents on Monday when alternate places for learning had been found as repairs continue at the school. 

Garner said division officials worked with the Plamondon District Community Development Society, the Francophone school board, Portage College and Lac La Biche County officials to find solutions. 

“With everyone that we were working with for trying to find space, they’ve been super cooperative and just you know going out of their to try to accommodate our students and find good spaces for them,” Garner said, explaining there are a lot of moving parts, including new transportation plans to get some of the students to Lac La Biche for classes. 

With just days of planning, Garner said the results have been going better than expected, “considering the amount of things that need to be juggled in order to make that happen.” 

Even though students have had a forced break from classes, this hasn’t been the case for teachers. According to Garner, teachers are still working. On Friday, she explained, they worked at alternative locations and on Monday, staff were in the school retrieving resources and belongings along with other necessary learning items. On Tuesday, they were busy setting up at the new locations.  

As the cleanup at the school continued, staff and administration were in the building over the last few days, collecting what they could to collect resources for the re-start of classes.  

Garner said as of yet there is no timeframe concerning when kids can return to Ecole Plamondon. Getting or setting a timeline, she said, hasn’t been at the top of the list of priorities. Rather, the emphasis has been on finding suitable locations for students and staff and ensuring that classes continue.  

“Our focus has really been on trying to make arrangements for learning to continue while we’re working on the school,” she explained. 

Garner said updates will be provided as they are available.  

Library questions 

While Northern Lights Public Schools has sent out three community updates since the flood, little has been presented about the extent of damage or future plans at the Plamondon community library which is housed in Ecole Plamondon. 

Lac La Biche County’s director of libraries Maureen Penn wasn’t able to provide an update when contacted for comments on Tuesday, directing the Lac La Biche POST newsroom to officials with the Northern Lights Library System based in Elk Point. The library organization oversees the operations of about 50 libraries across the Lakeland region. 

When asked about the extent of the damage caused by the flooding on Tuesday, or plans for Plamondon library users, James MacDonald, the director of the Northern Lights Library System, said he had no information, saying only he hoped it wasn’t a bad situation.  

Loraine Anderton, the chairperson of Lac La Biche County's Library Board, was also contacted on Tuesday for comment, but hadn’t responded by the editorial deadine. 

The cause of Thursday's flooding is still being being reviewed. It is believed a water pipe broke beneath the building. Damage estimates are expected as part of the updates coming from the school division over the coming weeks. 





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