School assessments after Hurricane Florence

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Tens of thousands of children across Southeastern North Carolina are out of school in the wake of Hurricane Florence. WECT is compiling information as it comes in from the local school districts on damage assessments and what parents can expect in terms of when students will potentially be able to return to class. This will be updated as more details are made available. 


So far, preliminary damage assessments have been made at about 60 percent of the schools, while some schools are currently inaccessible due to damaged roads and fallen trees. Assessments will be ongoing throughout the day as roadways are cleared. Here is some preliminary information:

•    Several schools experienced major flooding and other issues which are currently being assessed.
•    There are access issues with numerous schools due to minor flooding and debris.

As the process of damage assessments continues after Hurricane Florence, New Hanover County Schools will remain closed for all students and the majority of staff for the week of September 17-21, 2018.

The superintendent and senior leaders will decide later this week about when the schools can safely reopen for staff and students. Many employees and their families are still evacuated and have been unable to return to their homes at this time.


School administrators are currently assessing all the schools and for most the most part, they look to have only suffered minor damages. Initial reports show they are in good shape. 

Damages include a few leaking roofs and some flooding, but the damage is repairable. 

They are still operating shelters at the three high schools and have just over 660 people in them as of Tuesday morning. Those numbers could go up if more evacuations are necessary. They’ll stay open as long as there is a need for them.  

As for school makeup days, that would be determined after school is back in session and would be one of the first issues school board members address.  Right now BCS is closed through Friday and will make closing/opening decisions on a week by week basis as we learn more about the condition of the roads and flooding.  

BCS will find a way for all students to get their instructional time in a safe learning environment once they have a definitive timeline on when schools can reopen. More information will be released later this week.


Initial assessments of the schools indicate facilities received minimal damage from Hurricanes Florence.  However, it is still very dangerous as many areas are still heavily impacted from the event.   

School officials are still assessing the facilities.  As of now, the damage appears to be less than when Matthew hit two years ago. For example, some trees are down on campuses. Some sidewalk covers torn/ripped apart. 

More than half of the campuses have power at this time. Central Middle and North Whiteville (1 site) are still without.

Central services is unknown due to flood waters. As of 1 p.m. Monday, there was no water in the building. They will check again as soon as possible. 

Some water seeped into Whiteville High School but the custodians and maintenance are working to clean up now. 

School officials will assess and make an announcement Friday around 5 p.m. about when students can return.  


School spokesman Kelly Jones says Columbus County Schools should have a decision soon about if students can return next week.

Several schools received damage and that is still being assessed. The internet is currently spotty in the county at this time and that is all the information that is immediately available.


WECT is waiting for details from Pender and Bladen County Schools, and will add that information to this story as soon as we have it.

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