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Sarasota County Schools Announce Post-Ian Reopening Plans

The reopening will happen in two parts, the county school board said at a press conference today.

By Kim Doleatto October 4, 2022

Flooding from Hurricane Ian in Venice

Flooding from Hurricane Ian in Venice

Following pandemic-related school closures that unraveled many working families' lives in 2020, Sarasota County Schools have once again closed—this time as a result of another disaster: Hurricane Ian.

To make things even more complicated, the effects of the storm vary widely between the north and south areas of the county, making setting reopening dates for each school tricky.

But today, the Sarasota County School Board held a press conference to share some of the reopening goals the district is shooting for.

From Taylor Ranch Elementary School northward, schools are projected to open on Monday, Oct. 10. South County—which includes those in Englewood and North Port  that suffered more damage, are set to open the following Monday, on Oct. 17.

Two schools—Venice High School and Tatum Ridge Elementary—are still being used as emergency shelters, but the plan is for the shelters to close by the end of the day Friday to allow time for cleanup. Venice High is still housing a general population of storm evacuees, and Tatum Elementary School is still sheltering medically dependent evacuees.

According to the School Board, Southside, Lamarque,  Glenallen and Toledo Blade elementary schools still have no power. Water extraction, debris removal, and roof repairs, among other items, are the main points of damage across school buildings, and every school in the county sustained some water damage.

On Thursday or Friday of this week, the School Board will hold another press conference to share the latest details about its reopening plans.

Debra Giacolone, Sarsota County Schools' executive director of student services, highlighted the impact of the hurricane on students' mental health and offered details about where to get help. A countywide mobile response team is on call 24/7 and can be reached at (941) 413-6163. There's also an emergency text program; just text "here4u" to 741741 to be connected to a crisis counselor.

To watch today's press conference—as well as see the complete list of  Sarasota County schools and their projected opening dates, plus a list of donation sites—click here.

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