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A week after the winter storm, 40% of Cleveland County still lacks electricity, and the schools are open with restrictions



Rison, Arkansas – Although the cold temperatures of last week may seem like a distant memory with temps in the 60s, thousands of Arkansans are still without power one week later.

Although the Cleveland School District resumed on Monday with some restrictions, 40% of customers in Cleveland County still lacked power as of Wednesday afternoon.

For instance, the cafeteria at Rison High School had over 1,000 cartons of milk that had to be thrown away since they were all spoilt. Power was returned to the school on Sunday afternoon, according to superintendent Craig Dupuy, just in time to preserve the remainder of the food that had been refrigerated. They keep their frozen food below zero, and it still had days to go before it needed to be thrown out.

Over the past week in Cleveland County, it has been difficult to find a hot meal and a refreshing beverage. When Cleveland County Schools began on Monday, more than half of households and businesses still lacked electricity from last Thursday, when 98% of them were without it.

“Even knowing we might not get 50% of our kids here, for those that could get here, we wanted to get them a safe place to come to with electricity, heat, and make sure we go them a good breakfast and a good lunch,” Dupuy said.

Bus drivers had to examine their routes before reopening and discovered that some students’ residences were still unreachable.

“Probably about 80 percent of our kids were here Monday,” Dupuy explained. “We excused absences for those that couldn’t get here due to obstructions or roadways.”

Some teachers and bus drivers are among those who are returning after a day in the classroom with no electricity, according to the superintendent. The dress rule is consequently momentarily eased so that everyone can don a hat on a poor hair day.

“I noticed yesterday a bunch of them had hats on,” Cleveland County resident Judy King said.

After spending the previous week in Judy King’s house because she had a generator, her great-grandson is now back in school. A tree had fallen on a truck in the driveway of her grandchildren.

On Tuesday, the King’s neighborhood lost electricity. Around nine o’clock on Tuesday night, her energy provider, C&L Electric Cooperative Corp., restored her last electricity.

“I promised them all a hug if I got it, so I owe them big time, each one of them,” King said.

The school district expressed their expectation that once she starts her cleanup procedure, each power line will soon be in comparable condition to their lunch lines.

“We’re not at 100%, but I would say we’re getting closer,” Dupuy stated.

The Cleveland County School District is preparing to buy a cafeteria generator to power the cafeteria facility during future outages in order to prevent sobbing over spoilt milk in the future.

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