The Lee County School District has identified 13 schools that meet the criteria set for reopening in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian and will be ready to begin classes on Monday, Oct. 17.
At a press conference Thursday, Lee County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christopher Bernier announced that as ide from the 13 Lee county schools that will reopen from Hurricane Ian on Monday (10/17), more schools will follow.
“We have … I heard it referred to as the Lucky 13 today. We have the Lucky 13 that will be opening Monday,” said Bernier. “As of 9 o’clock this morning, we had another 11 that will be notified today that they can reopen on Tuesday. That number is only going to go up. That number again, as those other lab tests, at least 38 that we expect to have by the end of the day on Friday. That will green light another 38 schools for Wednesday. And we will continue the rollout and we will get our kids back to school.”
A school district statement Thursday listed the following 13 schools—11 elementary and two middle—as the first to reopen to students:
- Bonita Springs Elementary School
- Bonita Springs Middle Center for the Arts
- Colonial Elementary School
- Diplomat Elementary School
- Franklin Park Elementary School
- Gulf Elementary School
- Fort Myers Middle Academy
- Orange River Elementary School
- Orangewood Elementary School
- Three Oaks Elementary School
- Tice Elementary School
- Trafalgar Elementary School
- Tropic Isles Elementary School.
A statement by Dr. Bernier School Superintendent Christopher Bernier described the methods and reasons for setting the criteria.
The District’s statement said daily updates would be provided on the schools cleared to open and the first day of class for the students. Schools that are cleared to open will provide their families more information about the return to school.
Criteria being used to determine when to open a school include the following elements. No school will be allowed to open until all nine criteria are met:
1. Reliable power: A school must have consistent electricity to operate the entire campus.
2. Potable water: A school must have a safe supply of drinking water.
3. Professional assessment: A building professional must assess the school buildings and determine them safe to occupy. Any safety concerns must be mitigated or resolved.
4. Leak secure: School windows and roofs must be able to prevent a severe intrusion of water.
5. Working air conditioning: A school must have an assessed and operating HVAC system.
6. Functioning fire alarm and intercom: A school must be able to activate its fire alarm and school intercom in case of an emergency.
7. Indoor air quality: A school must have the air quality assessed by an industrial hygienist.
8. Debris cleaned up: A school must have storm debris either removed or stored in a safe and secure location.
9. Ability to serve food: A school must be able to provide students with grab and go meals. We look forward to providing you further updates and information as we clear schools to open and welcome students back to their campuses.
Additionally, the district is opening temporary satellite Student Enrollment offices on Thursday and Friday to help families that were forced to move or take temporary housing by Hurricane Ian.
Displaced or relocated families will have the opportunity to enroll their students into a school in their new zone. The satellite offices will be open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or until the last person in line receives assistance.
There are two Student Enrollment satellite locations in each zone:
- Cape Coral High School2300 Santa Barbara Blvd, Cape Coral, FL 33991
- Island Coast High School2125 De Navarra Pkwy, Cape Coral, FL 33909
- Lehigh Senior High School901 Gunnery Rd N, Lehigh Acres, FL 33971
- Gateway High School13820 Griffin Dr., Fort Myers, FL 33913
- Bonita Springs Middle School10141 W Terry St, Bonita Springs, FL 34135
- United Way of Lee County7273 Concourse Drive, Fort Myers, Florida 33908
The Student Enrollment Office at Lee County Public Education Center at 2855 Colonial Blvd. in Fort Myers will also be open to assist families from any of the School District’s three zones. Social workers, Exceptional Student Education and bilingual support will be available at each location.