Merritt-area schools remain closed as district works toward reopening

Merritt schools still closed

School district officials in the Nicola Valley say parents will have more information by the end of this week after floodwaters from last week’s storm damaged three Merritt schools and the district’s headquarters.

SD58 operations in Merritt and Princeton are at a standstill, the district said Wednesday in a news release. None of the district’s schools are running, but one — Nicola Canford elementary near Merritt — may be back online soon.

“Three of our 11 schools were damaged last week — all in Merritt,” SD58 Supt. Stephen McNiven said in a news release.

“With the support of the Ministry of Education, we’ve begun working with an external consultant to assess the damage to these buildings. This will help us determine the first steps in the process of repairs and will set us on the path to a full reopening.”

The three Merritt schools that suffered damage were Merritt Central elementary, Diamond Vale elementary and Merritt secondary. The four SD58 schools in Princeton were undamaged but remain closed, as well, as that community continues to deal with the effects of last week’s storm.

McNiven said the SD58 offices in Merritt also sustained damage.

According to the release, the district is “working closely” with the City of Merritt and Interior Health to determine when shuttered schools might reopen.

McNiven said the district has been working to support evacuation efforts.

“The Nicola-Similkameen School District has been supporting evacuation efforts, working to locate displaced staff and families and coordinating access to any necessities our students and their families may need, including food and water, secure accommodation and helping them to connect with loved ones,” he said.

“Our staff have demonstrated incredible generosity of spirit and the humanity we all need and deserve in this crisis, and we’re so grateful for all they have done and continue to do.”

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