'It's a big relief’: Cape Breton school reopens five months after flood, delays
Published Saturday, March 25, 2017 12:01PM ADT
Last Updated Sunday, March 26, 2017 10:12AM ADT
There were plenty of smiles from students and teachers at Brookland Elementary School in Sydney on Friday as the school opened for the first time since the Thanksgiving Day flood.
The school sustained significant damage, with nearly everything destroyed on the lower level.
“I lost 24 years of teaching materials,” says Grade 5 teacher Neeta Kumar-Britten. “It was really sad.”
The flood also had an emotional impact on students, who were forced to split up and attend different schools while the school was repaired.
“That was quite stressful,” says Principal Joyce Lively. “We had some families where siblings were in two different buildings rather than being together. “
“It’s really exciting and I’m really happy to be back,” says Grade 5 student Aimee Horne. “It was really hard because it wasn't like the regular classroom that we were always in.”
Students were originally scheduled to return on Feb 22, but the schoolboard postponed it until March 21. There were again more delays because of winter storms.
“Every day we were anticipating getting our things unpacked and coming in with the children and the days would go by and it would be cancelled,” says Kumar-Britten. “But here we are finally, and it's a big relief.”
The stress and anxiety seemed to be gone on Friday, as students were able to meet with friends once again.
“It was a good foundation that we had here and that got rocked a little bit,” says Lively. “We are going to go back to building that up, and becoming that school community once again.”
As students and staff try to get back into a routine, there's are worries another flood could happen again.
“I’m trying to be positive and I’m trying to say, once we're in we will be okay and everything should be rebuilt and fresh and clean for us, and we will be safe to go back downstairs,” says Kumar-Britten. “But there is a little butterfly in my belly, of course being a resident of the south end, that this could happen again.”
But for now, students and staff say they are happy to be back at school.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore