School Starts Delayed in Grassy Plains, Telegraph Creek Due to Wildfires

John Crawford

The new school year will start a bit later for some northwest students, thanks to this summer's wildfires.

In the Lakes District, School District 91 Superintendent Manu Madhok says Francois Lake Elementary will open as usual next Tuesday, since the Evacuation Alert for the area has been lifted, although some busses will not run in areas where the Alert is still in place.

However, Grassy Plains Elementary will remain closed, since the entire south side of Francois Lake is still under an Evacuation Order.

"Our best intelligence from BC Wildfire and Emergency Management BC is that Order will stay in place for at least the first 10 days or two weeks after schools start; we've been in touch with the Ministry of Education and there is a provision for Emergency Delays, which this would be, and so kids wouldn't have to come to school in July and their marks and grades wouldn't be impacted," he said.

[PHOTO:    Manu Madhok, Superintendent of Schools, School District 91 (Nechako-Lakes) ]

Late Thursday afternoon, the schooll district announced it plans to start the school year at Grassy Plains on September 17th -- or earlier perhaps -- if the evacuation order is lifted. 

But if the order continues beyond the 17th -- then classes for Grassy Plains students will begin in Burns Lake at a site to be determined. 

In the Stikine School District, Superintendent Mike Gordon says Tahltan Elementary School in Telegraph Creek is still within an Evacuation Zone and will not open next week.

Parents of those students have a couple of options.

"Dease Lake School will welcome any students from Tahltan School -- we have some already told us that they'll be here and their sgtaff are here as well;  those that are unable to return for possibly a lengthy period and are outside the Stikine Region, I would suggest they speak to the School District in which they're located about registering," he said, adding that those parents should also contact his office to let the School District know their intentions.

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