Baldwin County students head back to school Wednesday, September 30, 2020. They’ve been out for two weeks because of damage and cleanup due to Hurricane Sally. There are some ongoing repairs but overall, school facilities across the county fared well. Most of the problems have been due to leaking roofs and there was also debris that had to be removed to make the grounds safe.
South Baldwin School for Technology got the worst of it. It’s one of the oldest facilities in the system and roof leaks there were much more severe than at other schools. The cosmetology school and adjoining classrooms need new air ducts, wiring and ceilings. Crews are still working on that and students will not report, but instead stay at their base schools until further notice.
Virtual School students who are still dealing with power or internet outages should contact their teacher to work on individual plans for assignments. Those students will be able to report to one of the satellite offices to get their work done.
One of the biggest challenges has been for student bussing, safely getting 17-thousand students to and from school.
“We are a go. We have drivers out today running all the roads. We’ve run the roads. We’re constantly checking radios, doing radio checks throughout the county. Things look great,” said Transportation Coordinator for Baldwin County Schools, Tony Pollard.
Transportation officials have been working with the county and individual cities to make sure all bus routes are clear of debris and safe for student pickup.
Two days after the hurricane we were out checking roads and there’s no way we could have gotten busses on those roads safely,” Pollard said. “As of Friday, we checked the roads again. We had some areas we were concerned about but even those areas are starting to clear up, so we know we’re going to be ready to roll.”
There are a few areas that aren’t cleared up yet, but school officials said only about 20 students are affected. Their schools and parents have been notified of alternate sites for drop off and pick up. The amount of damage sustained and the cost to the system is not yet known. School officials said the earliest they’ll know that will be the end of this week.