Miami-Dade, Broward Public Schools Closed Indefinitely Following Irma
While all schools avoided major structural damage, 42 Miami-Dade public schools are still being used as shelters for Hurricane Irma victims.
Public schools in Miami-Dade and Broward, Florida will remain closed until further notice as recovery efforts continue following Hurricane Irma.
Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho says although there were no reports of major structural damage, each school will undergo safety inspections, reports the Miami Herald.
“I am thankful we were able to dodge the grenade. But not the bullet,” says Carvalho. “Access to some schools remains somewhat limited. But the structural integrity of our school building did very solid and very strong.”
Carvalho says it looks “nearly impossible” that schools will be open tomorrow and that even a Monday reopen may be unlikely.
Fallen trees and other debris have left some schools inaccessible. Others have been converted into shelters for hurricane victims who are still being housed in them.
There are currently 42 public schools being used as shelters, some of which are running on power from generators.
“We cannot reopen schools until all shelters are cleared. We cannot reopen schools until all schools have been inspected,” says Carvalho. “Lastly, our workforce, 52,000 strong, a lot of them migrated north to avoid the storm. Unfortunately, the storm followed them. They need to be able to return to Miami.”
In 2012, voters approved a $1.2 billion bond referendum for Miami-Dade public schools. The bond is currently funding four brand new schools and renovations on 280 existing schools. Carvalho says the school updates played a role in preventing serious damage, reports CBS.
“The modernization of schools, the replacement of old legacy windows with impact glass, I think that has gone a long way in terms of protecting our infrastructure across the community,” says Carvalho.
Throughout the storm, residents were urged to sign up for Miami-Dade Emergency Alerts.
As of Monday morning, 645,000 Miami-Dade residents were without power.
Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie echoed Carvalho’s statements, saying schools are closed until further notice.
Palm Beach School District superintendent Robert Avossa says 96 percent of schools are without power or air conditioning.
Avossa says no significant structural damage was found during inspections of the 180 public schools in the district.
All public K-12 schools, state colleges, state universities and state offices in Florida were ordered to be closed by Governor Rick Scott from Friday to Monday.
Additional closings and projected reopen dates for southern Florida establishments can be found here.
As for universities in southern Florida, here are some of the expected reopen dates:
- Miami-Dade College, Palm Beach College, Broward College and Lynn University are closed until further notice
- University of Miami and Johnson and Wales University say classes won’t resume until at least September 18
- Florida Atlantic University will reopen Wednesday
- Florida State University will reopen next Monday
- The University of Florida will reopen Wednesday but classes won’t start
- St. Thomas University will reopen Wednesday