Several schools across the Midlands will stay closed for a second weekday Tuesday as a result of the weekend’s severe weather.
After meeting with emergency preparedness officials, public schools in Richland, Lexington and Kershaw counties closed for a second da,y after a storm dumped more than a foot of rain in a matter of days.
Richland 2 made the decision to close Wednesday, as well.
Gov. Nikki Haley recommended schools in the area remain closed at a Monday news briefing. Haley said even after rain stops, dangers from remaining flood waters and unstable roads still pose a danger.
School officials said they would contact families via phone and email, along with posting information to social media and web sites, to keep them posted about classes rest of the week.
Richland 1 was the first to announce Tuesday’s closure. Karen York, district communications director, said officials factored in road conditions and whether schools and families had reliable power and water when making the decision.
“Obviously, safety is the biggest concern,” York said.
York said she had not heard about any major damage at Richland 1 schools, except for some roof leaks.
Mary Beth Hill, Lexington 1 chief communications officer, said some schools only reported minor damage, but nothing that required more than “just kind of putting a bucket under” the leak.
“Our parking lots and our roads and driveways are in good shape,” she said. “Now some of the roads leading up to the schools ... are not.”
Judy Turner Fox, Lexington 3 public information director, said she had heard of no damage or flooding at any of her district’s schools.
“Our schools are ... built on fairly high ground, and that’s good,” Fox said.
Fox said just because the school buildings and buses are in good conditions does not mean it is safe to drive on roads.
“We have hundreds of miles of dirt roads in our school districts and flooding in areas,” she said.
Mary Anne Byrd, Kershaw County communications director, said her district also has several rural roads that may not be safe to drive on yet.
Byrd said officials are visiting school buildings to assess what damage the storm incurred.
“Certainly we keep the safety of students and staff in mind,” she said. “We greatly appreciate the cooperation of families.”
Among private schools that announced closings Tuesday were Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Glenforest School, Grace Christian School, Ben Lippen School and Covenant Classical Christian School.
The status of other private schools including Hammond, as well as St. Joseph, St. Peters and St. John Neumann Catholic Schools was not known Monday afternoon. They were keeping parents informed through social media and other means.