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Several campuses in the Bay (Fla.) District sustained significant damage from Hurricane Michael.

Several Florida school systems remain closed in aftermath of hurricane

Oct. 16, 2018
Some districts say it will take several weeks for power to be restored to their facilities.

Several school districts in Florida remain closed a week after their communities were inundated by Hurricane Michael.

The Florida Department of Education says the following districts are closed until further notice: Bay County, Calhoun County, Franklin County, Gadsden County, Jackson County, Liberty County and Washington County.

In addition, Florida State University's campus in Panama City is closed until further notice.

Many schools do not have power, the department says. It "is coordinating with the associated power companies to ensure power is restored to these essential buildings as quickly as safely possible," the department says on its website.

The Bay District, on its Facebook page, says it is working on plans to reopen schools. "We are working in small groups to develop shared campus plans and hope to have something we can announce by the end of the week," the district says. "Those plans are dependent upon the restoration of power and water."

On the Calhoun County district Facebook page, Superintendent Ralph Yoder says the estimates for when electricity will be restored are "as short as 3 weeks and as long as 6-8 weeks."

"In the meantime," Yoder wrote to his staff, "you are encouraged to stay away from school facilities while repair and restoration activities are performed. If you do have to stop by your school, please be mindful of any construction or debris removal activities being performed. You will be notified by your supervisor if your assistance is needed during the interim time period and when you are allowed to return to your campus/worksite."

Franklin County sustained minimal damages from Hurricane Michael, according to the school district's Facebook page.

"However, without power and safe drinking water, it is not possible to open schools," the district says.

The Jackson County district says on its website that all its schools "have some damage, with some having significant damages. Damages to power infrastructure across the district are extreme. With these facts, we do not anticipate being able to reopen schools before the first of November."

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