Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Students detour to school

Buses rerouted to avoid submerged area roads

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ABOUT 50 francophone children in the Morris area from kindergarten to Grade 8 will switch schools this morning because of flooding.

They normally go to school in St. Jean Baptiste but will temporarily bus to Ste. Agathe because the flooded roads make it too difficult to get to their regular school.

"We're getting students in all grades, from kindergarten to Grade 8," said Denis Ferre, superintendent of the Division Scolaire Franco-Manitobaine. "From my understanding, (Highway) 75 is done both ways."

Superintendents in the four public school divisions south of Winnipeg are keeping their fingers crossed that they won't have to close any schools as the crest of the Red River travels north from the Canada-U.S. border towards Winnipeg.

Ferre said the school in St. Jean Baptiste is not in danger of closing so far, but it became too difficult to get all the pupils in the Morris area to the school.

"We have numerous routes that are rerouted," Seine River superintendent Mike Borgfiord said.

He said some students in St. Adolphe have moved into city hotels because flooding has cut their homes off, but division buses can still take them to the school from their hotels. Overland flooding has disrupted some bus routes around La Broquerie, he said.

Red River Valley superintendent Kelly Barkman said buses into Morris and Rosenort are detouring as much as 50 kilometres around their normal routes both to and from school, but so far students are reaching their classes.

Border Land superintendent Krista Curry said buses are detouring around Letellier, and between Altona and Dominion City, where high school students move back and forth for vocational courses.

In Wawanesa, maintenance workers pump as much as a half-million gallons of water per day from a crawl space under the village's school.

"Staff are basically here 24 hours a day just to keep up with it," principal Keith Murray told the Brandon Sun.

There is a plan to move classes to the town's arena or community halls if water levels spike and overpower the dike near the school.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 26, 2011 A6

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