Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools will remain closed through Friday as the community recovers from Hurricane Irma. Students should report back to school Monday, Sept. 18.
District officials extended the school closure dates because Georgia remains under a state of emergency, families are still making their way back to the area and the district is still in a property assessment and recovery mode. Officials estimate that it will take up to three days to prepare all facilities, school buses and food services for safe re-entry and to allow staff and families sufficient time to safely return home.
“Some of the older facilities sustained damage, some neighborhoods are without power and some are flooded,” said Superintendent Ann Levett. “But a big part of our challenge is with buses.”
Part of the Savannah-Chatham Public Schools bus fleet was used to transport evacuees to shelters in Augusta. They will be returning Tuesday and Wednesday, but transportation staff must work through the weekend to clean, sanitize and inspect the entire fleet to ensure they are proper condition to transport students again.
Additionally, Levett said it is important to provide faculty staff and students sufficient time to return to Chatham County and deal with any storm-related damage to their homes.
“We don’t know exactly how many faculty and staff are still out of town, without power or dealing with flooding and other property damage,” Levett said. “We want to make sure our families have time to recover and get back to some sense of normalcy.”
District staff will return to work on a staggered re-entry schedule to be announced at a later time. At this time, only essential staff is to report as directed by their supervisors. Additional return to work notices for remaining staff will be provided in a future announcement. Levett said her staff is also preparing a list of resources for families who may be in need of additional support after the storm.
Despite the flooding on Tybee Island, Tybee Maritime Academy Principal Pat Rossiter said the charter school’s facilities were okay as of Monday.