November 20, 1996 in Nation/World

Most Schools Closed Today Some Students Kept In Classrooms, Others Taken To Area Shelters

Craig Welch And Susan Drumheller S Jul Staff writer
 

Some North Idaho schoolchildren bundled up in coats and huddled for hours in darkened classrooms Tuesday.

Others were taken to shelters. A handful waited in idling buses while road crews sawed through downed tree limbs blocking the road.

Many Panhandle school kids won’t face those circumstances again today.

Tuesday’s torrent of ice, wind, snow and power outages forced schools in at least three North Idaho counties to cancel Wednesday classes.

Late Tuesday, school officials in Shoshone and Benewah counties had not made a decision about today’s classes.

As power went down across Kootenai County, children at Bryan and Fernan elementary schools and Lakes Middle School faced dark classrooms. The schools have emergency lights in hallways, said district spokeswoman Janet Feiler.

“If it gets really cold, they bring in portable generators,” she said.

That wasn’t necessary on Tuesday. Some kids slipped into their coats, but all were kept in school. Administrators said that’s safer than letting students walk home in darkness or be home without supervision.

The University of Idaho and Lewis-Clark State College canceled their Coeur d’Alene classes Tuesday. North Idaho College closed its campus at 3 p.m.

“Usually it takes seven feet of snow,” said spokeswoman Erna Rinehart.

The Red Cross opened a shelter at the Seventh-day Adventist Church on Locust Avenue, where children from Fernan, Lakes Middle School and Lake City High School were bused when fallen trees blocked the road to their homes.

Kids from the Coeur d’Alene School District had to wait while fallen branches were cut or removed from roadways south of Coeur d’Alene, said district financial officer Dave Teater.

“Trees were coming down 100 feet from the bus,” he said.

Buses faced icy conditions across the county.

Bus passengers from Lakeland were rerouted because of fallen trees, said school Superintendent Bob Jones.

“The biggest problem we had was visibility … keeping the ice of the windshield,” he said.

A worried Post Falls Superintendent Dick Harris Tuesday waited at the district’s bus barn until all the drivers finished their routes.

“Now they’re (buses) sitting in a parking lot covered in ice,” Harris said. “We figured it would take awhile to get them up and running.”

Jerry Bayley at St. Maries High School said the district usually relies on an electronic telephone system to notify parents when school is closed.

“It’s a great system,” he said. “But we’ve never foreseen the electricity going out.”

, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: SCHOOL CLOSURES Closed today are: Coeur d’Alene School District; Lakeland School District; Post Falls School District; Bonner County School District; Boundary County School District.

The following fields overflowed: BYLINE = Craig Welch and Susan Drumheller Staff writers Staff writer Julie Titone contributed to this report.

This sidebar appeared with the story: SCHOOL CLOSURES Closed today are: Coeur d’Alene School District; Lakeland School District; Post Falls School District; Bonner County School District; Boundary County School District.

The following fields overflowed: BYLINE = Craig Welch and Susan Drumheller Staff writers Staff writer Julie Titone contributed to this report.


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