Hurricane

Manatee schools to open and operate as normal Tuesday, district says

With Manatee County largely out of the scope of Hurricane Dorian, students will return to class as scheduled Tuesday, district officials announced.

Schools will open and close at regular times and transportation will function as normal, according to a joint news release from both Manatee and Sarasota school districts. This includes after-school activities, athletics and aftercare.

The School District of Manatee County and Sarasota County Schools decided to have classes Tuesday after intensive deliberations based on forecasts from the National Weather Service, which expect the impact of the hurricane to southwest Florida to be “minimal,” according to the release.

The decision was also based on the de-escalation of the emergency management operation in Manatee and Sarasota counties Saturday, that no shelters were opened, wind levels are not expected to come close to levels that would affect buses, and thunderstorm activity is expected to be typical for this time of year, the release stated.

District superintendents Cynthia Saunders, of Manatee, and Todd Bowden, of Sarasota, were in communication with each other and other superintendents throughout southwest Florida over the weekend and decided to open the schools.

In a prepared statement, Bowden said they believe it is safe for the schools to as scheduled, including after-school events and activities.

“Our schools are built to be shelters so there really is no safer place for the almost 100,000 students who attend our schools to be tomorrow,” Saunders said. “In addition, not having school would place a lot of working parents in a difficult situation regarding what to do with their children during what is expected to be a regular work day for most area residents.

However, students who are kept home Tuesday because of Hurricane Dorian will get able to get an excused absence for the day.

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