SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. — On Monday, traditional public schools in north Sarasota County will reopen for the first time since Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida.
That includes schools in Sarasota and in and north of Venice.
Traditional public schools in south Sarasota County, including Englewood and North Port, are scheduled to reopen on October 17.
The school district is reopening in phases because damage from the storm is much worse in certain areas.
Six assessment teams have checked every single school and found all campuses in the district had water intrusion and loss of electricity.
Many schools had roof damage, fallen ceiling tiles, soffit and fascia impacts, lighting issues, walkway canopies torn off, exterior and interior fencing down, exhaust fan and air conditioner failure, and a lot of debris.
“We’ve had facility management and maintenance teams in our facilities since Friday, September 30, assessing, cleaning and repairing damages,” said Dr. Brennan Asplen, Superintendent of Sarasota County Schools.
Crews have been removing water, securing buildings, drying out spaces, running humidifiers, cleaning rooms, and moving debris to ensure a safe return for all.
The school district is anticipating many bus routes could experience delays both to and from school. They’re asking families to consider driving their kids if they can try to reduce bus delays.
There’s also still a lot of damage in the area, like debris, standing water, and broken traffic lights. For children who usually bike or walk to school, leaders are asking parents to go with them to make sure it’s safe.