Sarasota County Schools will reopen Monday to allow officials time to prepare for students and staff at the schools that served as Hurricane Irma shelters.
Almost 19,000 people and thousands of pets sheltered in 14 schools, according to Superintendent Todd Bowden. While there’s no “catastrophic damage” to any school in the district, Bowden said, they have a “laundry list” of minor issues.
Also, about 60 evacuees remained in one shelter as of Monday morning, officials said.
Further, 11 schools in the district are still without power, Bowden said.
“We’ve got some that we could open for school tomorrow. We have other buildings that it’s going to be an uphill climb,” Bowden said. “We just need a little bit of time to let those schools recover.”
Schools will first undergo a cleaning, and then a deeper sanitation. Opening schools as shelters means they open food service. And during the height of the storm, all shelters became pet-friendly, and pets were no longer required to be in crates. This means some pets were “doing their business,” Bowden said, inside the schools.
Custodial staff were called in to work Tuesday.
Further, Bowden said, a significant portion of the district's staff evacuated the area, and the Monday start date will allow them time to return.
“Returning to normal includes the opening of schools,” Bowden said of the district’s efforts. “We want a safe, sanitary environment, and we want to make sure they’re productive days for students.”