Schools in the Escambia County School District will remain closed Monday and Tuesday as recovery from Hurricane Sally continues, while the Santa Rosa County School District will open Monday.
About 10 or 11 schools in Escambia County were still without power and water Sunday, although Superintendent Malcolm Thomas said he expects that number to drop dramatically by the end of the day.
To open up schools in the district, he said every school has to have power and water, and enough debris has to be off the roadway to drive a bus through a neighborhood.
On Tuesday, route supervisors will begin to do dry runs of bus transportation to measure access.
“We’re making progress getting things cut up. But in some of these neighborhoods, we may have to reroute some students. They may have to walk a little bit further than normal if we can’t get a bus in. So we’ll evaluate all that on Tuesday and at that point be prepared to make a decision,” Thomas said. “We’re trying to get students back into school as quickly as possible.”
Thomas said remote learning may be a challenge because internet connectivity might not return as quickly as electricity has. He said the district is still developing a plan to help those families and they’ll announce it around the time when in-person schools open.
School openings: Escambia and Santa Rosa schools, UWF closed till Monday
Santa Rosa County schools will open Monday
Over in Santa Rosa County, all schools have power back and any life safety issues have been resolved, said Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick.
Additionally, 95% of transportation routes are cleared and the district put together a plan for any student who can’t get to their normal bus stops.
For remote learning families, Wyrosdick said he knows internet access may be a challenge.
The local libraries have partnered to provide internet access to students who may need it. Additionally, the district is putting up 10 total hotspots outside of schools, which are yet to be determined. Wyrosdick said families should look for announcements from the district about those specific locations and to inform the administration if they plan to say outside the schools.
“There is connectivity across the district through our local internet providers so friends and family may have connectivity. And they can reach out with them to seek learning there,” Wyrosdick said.
Madison Arnold can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 850-435-8522.