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Tampa Bay school districts issue closures ahead of Ian: See county-by-county

Many district offices and school buildings will close as early as Monday.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Several Tampa Bay-area school districts have announced closures and other schedule changes ahead of possible impacts from Hurricane Ian.

The storm remains forecast to be near the western Gulf coast and with that brings the threat of significant storm surge, damaging winds and flooding rainfall.

See the plans for districts that have announced schedule changes so far:

Citrus County

The Citrus County School District will close schools for the rest of the week due to possible impacts from Hurricane Ian. After-school programs and extra-curricular activities have been canceled beginning Tuesday afternoon through Friday.

Hardee County

Schools across Hardee County will close Tuesday and Wednesday ahead of possible impacts from Hurricane Ian. School district staff members will still need to report to their respective schools or departments from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday. 

Hernando County

Schools and district buildings across Hernando County will close Tuesday in advance of possible impacts from Hurricane Ian.

Buildings will remain closed through Friday, the district said in a statement.

The following sites will serve as shelters for Hernando County residents:

  • Challenger K-8: Special needs and families ONLY
  • Explorer K-8: General population and pets

Shelters will open Tuesday at 9 a.m.

Hillsborough County

Hillsborough County school leaders announced all schools will close starting Monday.

Because many of the schools operate as storm shelters, buildings will operate as such through Thursday, the district said in a statement. This means schools will be closed Monday and remain closed through Friday. School will resume on Monday, Oct. 3.

All after-school programs and extra-curricular activities are canceled, as well.

"Many factors are considered when the [emergency operation center] activates shelters so even if our area experiences minimal physical effects from the storm, our school district plays a vital role in the EOC’s response," the district said in a statement. 

"Our school principals coordinate the opening of shelter sites, and the utilization of bus drivers for evacuee transport and student nutrition staff for meals for those at the shelters."

Manatee County

Schools across Manatee County will close starting Tuesday, Sept. 27, as some will open as shelters. The duration of closing is not yet known at this time, the district said in a statement.

Working in collaboration with Manatee County Emergency Management, the district will be opening up the following 15 schools as shelters beginning Tuesday.

Storm shelters will begin accepting evacuees at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning:

  • Nolan Middle School (Special Needs)
  • Braden River High School (Pet Friendly)
  • Manatee High School (Pet Friendly)
  • Mills Elementary School (Pet Friendly)
  • Bayshore Elementary School
  • Freedom Elementary School
  • Gullett Elementary School
  • Harvey Elementary School
  • Lee Middle School
  • Myakka Elementary School
  • Miller Elementary School
  • McNeal Elementary School
  • Rogers Gardens Elementary School
  • Williams Elementary School
  • Willis Elementary School

Pasco County

Pasco County school leaders announced schools and offices will be closed Tuesday and through the rest of the week. top 

The school district said on Thursday morning that they hope on reopening on Monday. 

During the closure, PLACE, ASEP, all after-school programs, all athletic events and practices, and all extracurricular events will not take place.

"The forecast at this time shows the storm affecting Pasco County starting late Tuesday and early Wednesday with significant amounts of rain, storm surge, and dangerous winds. It appears likely that it will be a slow-moving storm, so effects are expected well into Thursday. As a result, we will need to close for the rest of the week, as we expect that flooding and debris could result in some roads being impassable on Friday," the district said.

Pinellas County

Pinellas County Schools announced all school buildings and offices will be closed through the rest of the week.

The district announced Monday evening that schools will be closed from Tuesday, Sept. 28 through Friday, Sept. 30. Sports and extracurricular activities also will be canceled during the closure time.

Because some schools operate as special needs shelters, the following schools will release students early at 12:30 p.m. on Monday:

  • Palm Harbor University High School
  • Dunedin Highland Middle School 
  • John Hopkins Middle School

All other schools and offices will be open Monday and have regular operating hours.

Polk County

Polk County Public Schools leaders announced classrooms will be closed Tuesday through Friday in anticipation of impacts from Hurricane Ian.

Several school buildings will be converted into storm shelters for people in the area who are evacuating. School leaders say more information about shelters at school buildings will be provided by emergency officials when it becomes available. 

In addition to classes being canceled, all after-school programs and sports activities — including games and practices — will be suspended both those days. 

"We know the decision whether to close our schools has a huge impact on the plans and lives of our students and employees, as well as their families," county schools said in a release. "We appreciate their understanding and patience."

This mandatory closure only applies to public schools, and doesn't include charter and private schools. Parents with students enrolled in those schools should contact their school individually, the district said.

The school district said they will provide updates throughout the weekend on when schools will reopen.

Sarasota County

Out of an abundance of caution and to allow school buildings to be converted into shelters ahead of Hurricane Ian, classrooms will close Tuesday, Sarasota County Schools leaders said in a statement. 

The district said that while no evacuations have been issued for the county at this time, those living in Level A should prepare to receive an evacuation alert Tuesday morning. 

“As we continue monitoring Hurricane Ian’s track and potential impacts, residents are encouraged to review their emergency plans and prepare their go-kits,” said Jonathan Lewis Sarasota County Administrator in a statement.

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