Schools reopen following ice storm, power failures


Branches snapped off of trees following ice storm.

Following a massive winter storm, a region-wide power failure, and the cancellation of three school days, the Ann Arbor Public Schools returned to classes on Monday.

All but one school fully reopened, with four modular classrooms at Burns Park Elementary being the only school facilities not to be operational for Monday classes.

Last week’s closures began on Wednesday due to a massive winter storm. At the time, the National Weather Service warned that travel “may become nearly impossible.” With the storm going on into the night – and many Ann Arbor neighborhoods losing power – district officials were forced to keep the schools closed for yet another day.

“I wasn’t affected by any power outages,” said Pioneer freshman Buturo Barto. “But a lot of close friends of mine were. I thought that school was going to be canceled on Thursday, but what was crazier to me was that it was canceled Wednesday. We got three days off, it’s freakin’ outrageous!”

Historically, the third week of February served as a week-long mid-winter break, but due to complaints from parents the break was eventually shortened to only a three day weekend. As if fate itself was tempted by this decision, massive power failures forced the schools closed for a third day, giving students all but one day of the week off from school.

“I was happy about it,” said senior Jaden Adler. “I went to Paris last week and I was supposed to miss a week of school, but I only ended up missing one day.”

Superintendent Jeanice K. Swift, in a statement sent out last Friday, characterized the impact of Wednesday’s storm as “more significant than any event experienced in the AAPS in many decades.”

“Safety continues as our top priority for students and staff; we all want to welcome our students and staff back to school across our Ann Arbor Public Schools,” she continued.

DTE Energy, the privately-owned utility company responsible for electricity in Ann Arbor, reported that over 8,000 customers were still out of power as of 9:30 p.m. Sunday. The utility is no stranger to controversy, as several high-profile power outages have occurred during wintery weather, leading some to support creating a municipal utility company.

DTE is currently lobbying the Michigan Public Service Commission to raise its rates by 14%, which is projected to cost consumers an extra $12.46 per month.