Orange and Osceola County Public Schools plan to return to classes on Tuesday, while students in Seminole County returned today.
School personnel across all three counties have been working around the clock to prepare for the return of students, with major flooding still being reported across various portions of Osceola and Orange counties. Although officials in both counties had hoped to open their doors on Monday, October 3, a number of issues, including impassable roadways for our school buses, prevented them from doing so.
Among the schools most adversely affected is Riverdale Elementary, which sustained major flood damage after it was fully surrounded by water. Maintenance and safety teams have assessed water damages to the campus and determined it is not safe to return to the school. Principal Bill Charlton says students and staff will return to school on Thursday, October 6 and will be temporarily relocated to East River High School, which is located at 650 East River Falcons Way in Orlando.
“We recognize this is not an ideal situation but it is our only feasible option to keep educational continuity and get our students back in school as soon as possible,” said Charlton in a statement. The school is planning to host an open house at East River High School on Wednesday, October 5, between 5 and 7 p.m. for parents to visit the classrooms and receive information about academic instruction, supervision, transportation and food service.
Other schools around Orange County have also reported flooding in various classrooms, and multiple OCPS employees are “suffering great losses,” according to a statement from district officials.
To make a donation to any of the schools, students, or teachers adversely affected by the storm, visit the Foundation for OCPS Hurricane Ian Relief Fund webpage.
In Osceola, crews are working around the clock to identify and minimize the effects of Hurricane Ian.
Make-up days for the schools will be determined if required by the state after a full review and analysis of school instructional minutes and Department of Education requirements, according to separate statements issued by the districts.
In Seminole, campuses and facilities were deemed safe and ready for the return of students. School officials say that bus stops and routes may be impacted by flooded roads. The county says that any students that are still dealing with the adverse effects of flooding or power loss will have excused absences.
“Absences for students whose families face these types of situations will be excused, but all other families are encouraged to help their students restore their routine by getting reengaged in learning and attending school,” reads a statement from Seminole County Public Schools.