All but one Wake County public school will reopen Tuesday after crews worked to restore power and clear storm damage from Hurricane Matthew that canceled classes Monday.
Two dozen of Wake’s 176 schools were without power Sunday, which was the major reason for canceling classes Monday in the state’s largest school system.
But school officials said they’re confident power will be restored and road obstructions near schools will be cleared by Tuesday morning. The school system announced late Monday afternoon that schools will reopen.
The exception to Tuesday’s reopening is the Vernon Malone College and Career Academy, a specialized high school in south Raleigh that experienced extensive flooding over the weekend. Wake school officials are uncertain when the 300-student school will reopen.
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“Vernon Malone is the only school whose facility is still damaged, which is why Vernon Malone isn’t opening,” said Lisa Luten, a Wake schools spokeswoman. “We’ve spoken with the towns and the cities, and there’s a couple of remaining issues on the streets, but it looks like they’ll be fixed or repaired by the morning.”
The Wake County emergency shelter at Southeast Raleigh High School will remain open Tuesday when students return.
School and utility employees were busy Monday assessing the damage and working on cleanup.
Luten said the majority of the impact was from power failures, as opposed to damage from the hurricane itself. Service will be restored to all Wake schools by the end of the day Monday, according to Meredith Archie, a spokeswoman for Duke Energy.
Luten said principals were expected to be in school Monday to assess any work that needed to be done, such as cleaning rooms, clearing debris and working with custodial staff and district maintenance staff to make repairs. Maintenance crews were traveling around the county helping remove large obstructions from school campuses.
The situation was grimmer at Vernon Malone, where school officials were reviewing the extent of the damage on Monday. The school has significant amounts of specialized equipment to teach students skills in areas such as collision repair, cosmetology and welding.
Staff at Vernon Malone tweeted out their sorrow about the damage.
“Devastated to hear about the condition of this place I love so much,” Ashley Allen, Vernon Malone’s technology coach, tweeted Sunday.
But Vernon Malone staff also expressed their confidence that they can repair the school.
“I am so proud to work with you all @VernonMaloneCCA and I know we will all be #vmstrong and restore our amazing school!” Ashlie Thompson, Vernon Malone’s principal, tweeted on Sunday.
Wake has already announced when most students will make up Monday’s cancellation.
▪ Traditional-calendar students, who account for the majority of Wake’s estimated 159,000 students, will have classes on Oct. 31, a Monday. Halloween was originally a teacher workday;
▪ Modified-calendar students and the Wake STEM Early College will have classes on Saturday, Oct. 29;
▪ Year-round students on tracks 1, 2 and 3 will have classes Saturday, Oct. 15.
Monday’s makeup day has not been set for Vernon Malone and the Wake Early College of Health Sciences.
If school had remained closed Tuesday, Wake’s traditional-calendar students would have been set to make up that day Saturday, Oct 29.