Storm Update: PCPS Schools and Offices to Reopen Friday, Sept. 1
Posted on 08/30/2023
Storm Information

An update from PCPS Superintendent Fred Heid:

Dear PCPS families,

First, I hope that you and your loved ones are safe. Polk County has been very fortunate to have been spared the brunt of Hurricane Idalia. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are in the direct path of this storm, knowing full well what issues they are facing.

This is just a quick update on where things stand today. As originally planned, PCPS schools and offices will remain closed today (Wednesday, Aug. 30) and tomorrow (Thursday, Aug. 31). We will resume normal operations on Friday, Sept. 1.

Although we had minor impacts to our area, we still need time to do a thorough assessment of our school sites to make sure they are ready for students and staff to return. We also need to deactivate our shelters and prepare those schools to resume normal operations.

Our maintenance staff will begin the process of inspecting school sites later this afternoon once the tornado watch ends. Our staff will visit each school and work site to ensure that they have power, have no damage to the roof or windows, determine if any debris removal is needed, and check for localized flooding/water intrusion.

We are glad that utility companies are reporting less than 1,000 residents in Polk without power at this time. We do have systems in place to monitor our network connections and refrigerators/freezers at each school site. Thus far we have no reported outrages, which is a good indication that we have power at all sites.

Our shelters accommodated 113 residents overnight (with capacity for thousands more) and we’re already seeing some guests returning to their homes. By 3 p.m. today we will begin the process of closing school district shelters. While school shelters will be closing, residents will still have a shelter available at 1255 Brice Blvd. in Bartow.

I do want to recognize and thank our staff who assisted our shelters, and those who are now working so we are able to return to normal operations as soon as possible. Nearly 300 district-level staff volunteered to work shifts at each shelter site to ensure that we provided the best possible support to those in need. Several of our maintenance staff were also at each location overnight to address any issues caused by the storm. Our facilities/maintenance staff, along with our custodial crews, will now begin the tough job of confirming that schools are safe and clean for students to return.

We intend to reopen all PCPS schools and offices this Friday, Sept. 1. It’s important that we not close schools any longer than necessary, especially since storm season is not over, and we never know if we’ll experience more severe weather. We also must provide as much instructional time as possible.

Please be safe and take care as we deal with the wind and rain in the wake of Idalia. We’ll see you back in school on Friday.

Category: For Schools,News