Volusia County, FL - Following Hurricane Irma, Superintendent Tom Russell made the decision that schools would be closed Friday, September 8, through Wednesday, September 13.
Before re-opening schools, crews from Volusia County Schools and GCA are working to ensure our facilities are functional, clean and safe for the return of students and staff. The target date for reopening is Thursday, September 14; a decision will be officially announced Wednesday, September 13.
We are now in recovery mode and are looking forward to returning to our normal routines as quickly as possible. Below is what we are working through; however, this is a preliminary list, as we are still assessing our facilities:
- Twenty-four of our schools sheltered and fed more than 4,000 people during the storm. These schools are being thoroughly sanitized and restocked with food.
- Fifty-five percent of schools have power; up from only 25 percent this Tuesday morning (9/12). More schools are coming online by the hour.
- Four schools have minor roof damage with some water intrusion: Coronado Beach Elementary (NSB), Ortona Elementary (DB), Osceola Elementary (DB) and R J Longstreet Elementary (DB). A few classrooms will not be usable until the damage is repaired and our environmental teams ensure the rooms are properly cleaned. Ortona Elementary also has damage to the media center roof, making it unusable until repairs are made. This will not delay the opening of these schools.
- One school has significant damage to the roof on the kindergarten building: George Marks Elementary (DeLand). The building had a tree fall on the roof and it will take time to make the needed repairs. Students will be relocated to other rooms on campus until the building can be repaired. This will not delay the opening of this school.
- There is other minor damage at schools and district facilities, such as fences and signs. Repairs will be prioritized, but will take time to complete.
- Freezers in our beachside schools were emptied prior to the storm to ensure no food spoilage. These freezers need to be restocked prior to school reopening, which cannot happen until power is restored.
- Some roadways are flooded or have low hanging power lines on bus routes and near bus stops. Crews will make an assessment Wednesday to insure the bus stops are safe for students and the routes are accessible and can be safely traveled by buses.
- All activities and athletic events were cancelled Thursday (9/7) through Wednesday (9/13). Fields, bleachers and other outdoor facilities need to be inspected prior to resuming athletic practices and games. An announcement will be made regarding when activities and athletic practices and competitions will resume.
- Some open houses for elementary and middle schools will be rescheduled. The dates will be communicated to families by individual schools.
- Makeup days are being considered, including asking the state for forgiveness. We will announce the makeup days as soon as they are decided.
Team members with Volusia County Schools worked before, during and after the storm to make the best decisions possible for more than 62,000 students and their families, as well as over 7,000 employees. A return to normalcy is our goal.
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