Latest on closures for local school districts, universities due to Ian

Desks in classroom. (WDIV)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As Hurricane Ian gained strength and approached Florida, school districts in Baker, Columbia and Putnam counties decided Monday to close schools later in the week.

By Tuesday, Duval, St. Johns, Nassau, Clay, Bradford, Alachua, Union and Flagler counties announced they would join them -- meaning all 11 districts in News4JAX’s Northeast Florida coverage area canceled classes at some point this week.

Read on for details...

RELATED: Postponements galore: Hurricane Ian scrambling high school football schedule

In Duval County, (updated 9/27) DCPS said all schools will now be fully closed beginning Wednesday. The decision was made after Mayor Lenny Curry announced the city is considering potential evacuations in Zone A. Athletic activities and extracurricular activities are canceled until Oct. 3. The district will remain closed Thursday and Friday and all activities are canceled. Schools will be fully open and operational on Monday, Oct. 3, and school activities will resume as normal.

In Clay County, schools and district offices will be closed Wednesday through Friday. Clay County District Schools will resume normal school operations this Monday, October 3rd.

All St. Johns County Schools will be closed on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. All athletic contests and extracurricular activities will also be canceled starting Wednesday until further notice. Any activities or athletic contests and extended day services will operate as normal for Tuesday. All St. Johns County Schools and District Offices will be open to resume normal operations on Monday, October 3. Extracurricular activities, athletic contests and practices can also take place as scheduled. School make up days will be determined soon and communicated to families and staff.

Nassau County schools will close Wednesday-Friday because of Hurricane Ian. All afterschool activities will be canceled for Wednesday-Friday of this week.

Flagler County will remain closed through Friday. All after-school activities planned for Wednesday through Friday have been canceled. This includes extracurricular activities, including sporting events. The SAT testing scheduled for Matanzas High School on Oct. 1 has been moved to Oct. 15.

Following a damage assessment at all school sites, Flagler Schools Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt announced that the start of classes for all students has yet to be determined.

“We first want to ensure all our families have the supports they need to begin the recovery process following Tropical Storm Ian,” said Mittelstadt. “We are also working with our partners with Florida Power and Light to restore power to Indian Trails Middle School and Belle Terre Elementary School.”

The Transportation Department will survey bus stops Saturday in areas where flooding remains a concern. Should alternate bus stops be necessary, that information will be relayed to the families in the affected areas, as well as posted on our district website, www.flaglerschools.com.

Superintendent Mittelstadt hopes to have a decision on when schools will reopen Saturday at 6 p.m.

Putnam County has announced it will close down schools from Wednesday through Friday after officials made the decision to activate schools for community members needing a safe place to shelter.

“Many factors are considered when opening a shelter, so even if our community experiences minimal physical effects from the storm, our district plays an important role in the response from the EOC,” Putnam Schools wrote on its website. “School administrators manage the operations of the shelters, bus drivers support the transportation of some community members, food service teams provide meals to shelter occupants, and our custodial, maintenance and IT teams work to keep our facilities in order throughout the event.”

Putnam County shelters will open Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Baker County schools will close Wednesday and remain closed through Friday, according to the superintendent. That includes halting extracurricular activities within the Baker County School District.

All Bradford County schools and offices will be closed Wednesday through Friday.

Columbia County will have students go virtual on Wednesday and close schools on Thursday and Friday.

Alachua County Public Schools and district offices will be closed Wednesday through Friday, including the likely use of some schools as shelters. All extracurricular activities are also canceled. The district plans to reopen schools and offices on Monday, Oct. 3 if facilities are functional and safe for students and staff.

The Union County School District, including the Tigers Den, will be closed beginning Thursday. From Wednesday after school through Sunday (10/2), all activities will be suspended until further notice. As of now, all homecoming activities will proceed as scheduled next week.

Area private schools

Several local private schools in the Jacksonville area have announced closures this week due to Hurricane Ian.

Providence School and Preschool will be closed Wednesday, Thursday and Friday through the weekend. There will be no extracurricular activities during this time.

(Updated 9/27) Episcopal School of Jacksonville’s three campuses will be closed Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The Bolles School will be closed Thursday and Friday, due to the threat Hurricane Ian. Unless announced otherwise, all of the school’s scheduled practices will continue through Wednesday afternoon. The varsity football game originally scheduled for Friday night against Episcopal has been moved to Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Episcopal. All other fine and performing arts and athletic events on Thursday and Friday have been canceled or postponed.

St. Johns Country Day School will close Wednesday and remain closed Thursday and Friday, and through the weekend. This affects all on-campus activities, athletic practices, and contests. After-school activities and athletics will continue as normal for Tuesday.

Trinity Christian Academy and all school offices will be closed Wednesday at noon through Friday due to the storm. All extracurricular activities are also canceled.

All Catholic Schools of the Diocese of St. Augustine are closed Thursday and Friday. Updates are available at dosaeducation.org.

Georgia

All Ware County Schools and the Central Office will be closed Thursday and Friday. All after-school activities will be canceled on both days as well. At this time, the volleyball fundraiser and WCHS Homecoming Dance are still scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. Please watch the Ware County Schools Facebook page and our system website for all official information.

All schools in Glynn County will be closed on Thursday and Friday. At this time, all schools will remain open on Wednesday; however, all afterschool, band and athletic programs will be canceled on Thursday and Friday. School buses will run according to their regular schedules on Wednesday. Glynn County School System employees should not report to work on Thursday or Friday.

Florida

The Tampa Bay area was the first to announce school closures. More than 15 school districts along the western Gulf Coast — including those in Hillsborough, Manatee, and Pinellas counties — announced Monday afternoon they will close for at least one day this week with many deciding to Tuesday through Thursday. Classes at the University of South Florida are also canceled Monday through Thursday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday said any Florida school closures will be posted on the Florida Department of Education website.

University & college closures

Multiple universities and colleges throughout the state have canceled classes as Ian tracks toward Florida.

The University of North Florida is canceling all classes, including online classes, starting Wednesday through Saturday. University offices will be closed during this time. Activities and events scheduled on campus are also canceled. The University plans to resume normal operations on Sunday.

The website shows Florida State University is canceling classes Tuesday through Friday.

Jacksonville University is also closing its campus Wednesday through Friday.

All classes and activities on all Florida State College at Jacksonville campuses and centers are canceled Wednesday through Friday, including online classes. In addition, all faculty and administrative offices will also be closed Wednesday through Friday. Employees who are classified as essential personnel will be contacted by their supervisors to discuss work schedules. Classes will resume and all locations will reopen on Saturday, Oct. 1 at regularly scheduled times.

The University of Florida said it’s canceling classes, including online and at the Gainesville campus Wednesday through Friday.

Santa Fe College will close Tuesday by 5 p.m. While respecting the need to continue academic instruction, all evening classes starting at 4 p.m. or later are canceled. Classes that are already in progress will be allowed to continue, all ending by 5 p.m. The college will remain closed from 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, Oct. 2. The college fully expects to reopen for normal operations Monday, Oct. 3.

Saint Leo University is canceling classes Wednesday through Friday, including locations in Ocala, Lake City, Jacksonville, Mayport, and Savannah, Georgia.

Nova Southeastern University is closing its Jacksonville campus building operations effective at the end of business Tuesday. Building operations will remain closed through Sunday, Oct. 2. Normal class schedules and building operations are expected to resume on Mon., Oct. 3.

The College of Coastal Georgia will shift all classes online starting Wednesday, September 27 through Friday, September 30. The College will have reduced operations on Wednesday, and the campus will be closed from Thursday, September 29 through Saturday, October 1.


About the Authors:

Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.