PCPS Schools Will Be Open Tuesday, After-School Activities Canceled
Posted on 08/27/2023
Storm Information

Dear parents/guardians,

Polk County Public Schools is monitoring the path of Tropical Storm Idalia, which could impact Central Florida starting late Tuesday evening. Our team continues to monitor the weather and we are working with the Polk County Emergency Operations Center to provide you with updated information regarding the potential impact to our area.

The current forecast shows that the storm is likely to strengthen and could become a Category 3 hurricane prior to making landfall later this week. The current forecast shows that it could make landfall between Tampa Bay and Jefferson County.

At this time there are no changes planned to the PCPS school day schedule for Tuesday, Aug. 29. Please know we will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available, since the storm could impact our school operations on Wednesday and Thursday.

While we expect to operate on a regular schedule tomorrow, all after-school activities for Tuesday, Aug. 29, are canceled and will be rescheduled as needed. We also are postponing the College and Career Fair scheduled for Tuesday evening at Florida Southern College.

The decision to close schools includes a review of the following:

• Sheltering needs – Many of our school sites serve as hurricane shelters. These shelters provide support for our own residents and those who may travel inward from coastal communities. It is also important to note that we also operate shelters for pets and residents with special needs (those requiring medical support). So schools may be closed ahead of the storm to allow the county time to deliver equipment, staff each site, and transport those requiring medical support.
• Transportation – School buses are only allowed to operate when the sustained winds are below 35 mph. We will cancel school in the event that sustained winds exceed this threshold.
• Staff – Our staff may be adversely impacted by storm damage. As a result, we must work to ensure that we have enough staff available to reopen schools following a storm event.

PCPS will work quickly following a storm to return to normal operations. Reopening is a complicated process and our teams work swiftly to ensure that our campuses are safe for students and staff to return. There are several issues that could prevent our ability to reopen immediately following a storm event. These include:

• Time needed to return shelter residents and pets to their homes.
• Cleaning and sanitizing all shelters prior to students and staff returning.
• Evaluating schools for any flood damage or water intrusion due to roof/window damage.
• Ensuring schools have electricity and there are no downed power lines.
• Ensuring that schools have water or that we deliver bottled water if needed.
• Inspecting playgrounds and athletic facilities for any damage.
• Ensuring that we document any damage to our schools for insurance purposes.

Please continue to follow our website and social media accounts for updates. In the event we have to close schools or alter our operations further, we will send automated calls and emails to all PCPS families. Please make sure your school has your correct contact information on file for “SchoolMessenger” communications.

Again, any official announcements regarding our schools will be communicated via PCPS SchoolMessenger calls and emails, as well as our website and social media accounts. Unless you hear otherwise from us, all PCPS schools will be open as normal on Tuesday.

Please stay safe and make sure your family is adequately prepared.

Important Links:

PCPS Facebook

PCPS Twitter/X

PCPS Instagram

Category: For Schools,News