JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As Tropical Storm Eta crept towards the west coast on Wednesday afternoon, some school districts in Northeast Florida made the decision to close schools on Thursday.
Here’s a look at the school districts that will be closed, the districts that will be open and the districts that have yet to make a decision.
Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene said Wednesday evening that all students in Duval County will move to online learning on Thursday and all after-school activities have been canceled.
Greene said the decision was made out of an abundance of caution due to possible transportation issues. Tropical Storm Eta is expected to impact Duval County around the time students get out of school.
Elementary school classes will begin online at 10 a.m. and conclude at 3 p.m. Secondary school classes will begin and end at their normal time and students that attend Duval Virtual Instructional Academy will do their work in their normal platform, Greene said.
All district personnel will work from home, with the exception of school police.
There are no changes expected for Friday, Greene said.
“This is a decision they’re making in the best interests of this their students,” Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said. “Private schools and private businesses are not under a city mandate, they can make their own decisions at this time.”
UNF’s Crisis Management Team said it is closely monitoring Hurricane Eta.
“Currently, Eta is expected to bring heavy rainfall and flash flooding to North Florida starting Wednesday night through Friday. UNF Physical Facilities is preparing the campus by clearing storm drains that will help alleviate standing water,” the school wrote on its website. “If there is a change in the weather that would impact University operations, alerts will be provided through multiple channels including emails, text messages, phone calls, Safe Ospreys App notifications, social media, the UNF homepage and other communication methods as outlined on the Emergency Management webpage at https://www.unf.edu/emergency/.”
Duval private schools
Episcopal said on its website that all three campuses will be closed Thursday and that it plans to reopen Friday.
Trinity Christian Academy will be open for classes Thursday. It said outdoor activities and after school sports may be limited. If parent’s did not feel safe taking their student(s) to TCA, their student will not be marked absent, however, they will need to make up missed work.
Bishop Kenny High School will be open Thursday and the Bolles School will be closed, according to the schools' websites.
Wayman Academy of the Arts is closed Thursday and instruction will take place via Wayman Academy Virtual Education.
Joshua Christian Academy will be closed Thursday.
School leaders in Clay County announced at 5 p.m. that all schools will be closed on Thursday and all after-school activities are canceled.
“Please know the decision to close schools is not taken lightly. As always, the safety of every individual is our top priority. We do have hurricane days built into our revised calendar for this school year, so no adjustments will need to be made to the student calendar,” the district wrote on its website. “At this time, the plan is to resume all operations with schools and offices reopening on Friday, November 13th. We will continue to monitor the storm as it moves through our area over the next 24 hours and will work with our partner agencies to determine the need for any other potential closures. Please stay tuned as we provide updates through email, our district website, and social media pages.”
St. Johns County
A message from the St. Johns County School District said schools will remain open Thursday.
The school superintendent said Wednesday night that there was no plan to close schools.
The school district in Alachua County was the first in Northeast Florida to announce schools would be closed on Thursday. No decision has been made about Friday.
The University of Florida also canceled classes on Thursday.
UF Alert UF classes canceled, campus offices closed Thursday, Nov. 12 because of TS Eta. Will re-open Friday, Nov. 13. Check https://t.co/qE8GKoMm4V for details.— UF Alert (@UFAlert) November 11, 2020
Columbia County is also closing its schools in anticipation of the storm. Nearby school districts in Marion, Suwannee and Gilchrist counties also decided to close schools on Thursday.
Florida Gateway College is delaying classes until 11:30 a.m. Thursday.
The Bradford County School District confirmed that all schools will be closed Thursday due to the potential concerns from Tropical Storm Eta.
“We are still anticipating the onset of tropical storm force winds beginning approximately 9:00 a.m. Thursday until Thursday afternoon (30-40 mph) - The storm should be passed our area by 7:00 p.m.,” according to Bradford County Emergency Management.
Camden County Schools in Georgia said it will have school on Thursday and Friday.
“The current path of the storm is not predicted to have a direct impact on our community but we will remain vigilant in tracking the storm and determining if we need to make any adjustments to plans for the school schedule,” the school district wrote in a Facebook post. “We are currently planning to have school on Thursday, November 12th and Friday, November 13th as regularly scheduled.”
News4Jax reached out to several other school districts to find out what their plans are but we have not yet heard back.