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Sault Ste. Marie – The holiday break has been extended for students in an Upper Peninsula school district, which canceled classes but opened a high school to area residents to charge their phones – and recharge themselves – during a multiday power outage.

The Sault Ste. Marie district covers 308 square miles, including two islands, in the eastern Upper Peninsula. Power has been restored to the schools, but many homes remain in the dark since rain, ice and snow brought down hundreds of trees as well as electricity lines earlier this week.

The holiday break was scheduled to end Thursday. Instead, there are no classes Thursday or Friday. The high school is open for warmth, showers and lunch.

“We felt that getting kids ready for school after not having power for multiple days would have added undue stress to families,” Superintendent Tim Hall said.

Cloverland Electric Cooperative said it still had 3,500 businesses and homes without power Thursday night, mostly in Chippewa County.

“These outages continue to be very complex. … Sugar Islanders – we know you’re eagerly awaiting our crews, but unfortunately it won’t be tonight,” Cloverland said on its website.

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