As Hurricane Idalia headed for other locales Wednesday, Tampa Bay area school systems, universities and colleges were trying to decide when to reopen — a decision made more difficult by rampant flooding and lingering evacuation orders.
As the storm headed for Florida earlier this week, most schools opted to close Tuesday and Wednesday, with plans to reopen Thursday. For some of them, circumstances dictated a change.
Below is a live list of post-storm plans for area schools:
Hillsborough County Public Schools: Schools will reopen on Thursday. “Once the shelters are cleared this afternoon, our maintenance teams will clean and sanitize those schools, so they will be ready for students tomorrow morning,” spokesperson Tanya Arja said in an emailed statement Wednesday afternoon. The district said parents should alert their children’s schools in the morning if they cannot get to school because of damage or flooding at their homes, or roadways that are not passable. Click here for district updates.
Pinellas County Schools: Schools will reopen on Thursday for all activities, including after-school events. District officials said they understand that some areas of the county remain prone to flooding, and urged families to assess their situations and act in the best interest of safety. “Any student absent due to weather-related circumstances will be marked as an excused absence,” the district said. Click here for district updates.
Pasco County Schools: Classes will resume on Thursday. “All of our schools fared well during the storm,” said Superintendent Kurt Browning. He said it looked like any flood waters in the roads west of U.S. 19 are receding, so buses should be able to get to and from schools. His larger concern was about students and staff who are affected by the storm and cannot make it to school. “We’ll be working with those who are impacted,” Browning said, noting any absences will be excused.
Hernando School District: Schools will reopen Thursday. The district notes that transportation delays are likely, and may not be available in some coastal areas. “Students impacted by coastal flooding will be provided an excused absence.” Click here for details.
Citrus County School District: Classes are canceled Thursday. “Due to the ongoing coastal impact in our county of Hurricane Idalia, many of our schools are continuing to be used as shelters,” the district said in a statement. Click here for updates.
School District of Manatee County: All schools except for Anna Maria Elementary will reopen with regularly scheduled hours on Thursday. Information regarding the reopening of Anna Maria Elementary will be sent directly to that school community. Extra-curricular activities and extended day programs will also resume. Athletic practices and games can resume tomorrow, although some athletic events may be postponed based on the availability of the teams involved. Click here for district updates.
Polk County Public Schools: Schools will remain closed through Thursday, with reopening scheduled for Friday. Click here for district updates.
Diocese of St. Petersburg schools: The diocese said the following in an email: “Based on information we’re receiving, there is a wide variety of impact to the schools and early childhood centers as well as the communities they serve, depending on location. We have communicated that it is a local decision as to whether to open school tomorrow and empowered our principals to make that call. The majority of our schools will open tomorrow; however, some of our school leaders are still waiting for the storm surge to pass and/or local officials to open affected areas to be able to get to their schools to evaluate the situation.”
University of South Florida: The St. Petersburg campus will reopen Friday. The USF Tampa campus, USF Health (including downtown Tampa operations) and Sarasota-Manatee campuses will reopen Thursday. Classes at the Mote Marine Laboratory are canceled on Thursday. Check for updates here.
Hillsborough Community College: The school announced will reopen its campuses Thursday.
St. Petersburg College: Classes will resume Thursday. For more details, click here.
Pasco-Hernando State College: Campuses will be closed and classes are cancelled on Thursday due to the ongoing recovery efforts. Normal operations are expected to resume on Friday. Click here for updates.
Eckerd College: Eckerd College will reopen Friday. Classes will begin as scheduled on Monday.
Saint Leo University: Classes will resume Thursday. The only exception is the university’s Savannah, Georgia, location, where there will no classes and the education center will be closed. Campus, online, and the other education centers including Tampa, MacDill, and Key West, will have classes and be open. The university issued an “all clear” at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Stetson University College of Law: Classes and events will be cancelled through Friday, the school said. Dorm residents may return starting 6 p.m. Wednesday and the Gulfport and Tampa campuses will reopen Thursday morning.
Nova Southeastern University (Tampa Regional Campus): The university will reopen its Tampa, Orlando and Fort Myers regional campuses Thursday. The Jacksonville campus remains closed until further notice. Students, faculty and staff members who experienced damage due to the hurricane are asked to contact their program director or supervisor to determine next steps.
University of Florida: The University of Florida will reopen Thursday.
Florida State University: The Tallahassee campuses will close and cancel classes through Friday. Sarasota campuses and operations are expected to reopen Thursday.
University of Central Florida: Normal operations will resume Thursday after campus and academic activities were suspended Wednesday. See the UCF Alert page for details.
University of North Florida: The university will reopen Thursday, after closing Tuesday and Wednesday. See the emergency management page for details.
New College of Florida: Classes and all normal operations will resume at 8 a.m. Thursday, the school said on its website.
Ringling College of Art and Design: Classes and all campus operations will resume on Thursday. Click here for details.
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