Parents respond to SCCPSS delayed start following Irma


The Savannah-Chatham School District says there are a number of post-Tropical Storm Irma issues that they need to address before allowing students to return to school on Monday.

"We will not jeopardize the safety of any of our students or our staff by placing them in a building that has not been completely assessed and cleared for occupancy," said Vanessa Miller-Kaigler, SCCPSS Deputy Superintendent Chief Operating Officer.

Miller-Kaigler says a handful of the district's schools suffered from flooding and power outages during Irma. Now, a host of structural, electrical, flooding and nutrition specialists will need to inspect the facilities.

"We go in and whatever repairs that's necessary, we're expediting that process. We're working with our vendors getting deliveries in, getting test results back in and clearing buildings as soon as we possibly can," Miller-Kaigler said.

SCCPSS says it also has to take into consideration the students, staff members and about 47 district school buses, that were used during the county's evacuation process, that are still returning to Savannah. Miller-Kaigler says those buses will now need to be checked and cleaned by the maintenance department.

She said, "All of those pieces have to be evaluated, measured and made sure that we are 100 percent ready to return to school."

The district has been closed since last Friday and originally discussed reopening on Wednesday. Now, the Monday start-date is prompting different responses from parents.

"All those things considered you know I know working in a school district you have to take all that into consideration of course [...] but it seems a little excessive," said Amanda Fitzgerald. Her two children are students in the Bryan County School District and will return to classes on Thursday.

But, Savannah-Chatham School District parent, Jim Simpson, views the situation differently.

"This is a time where we have to understand that on some level we may face an inconvenience today and tomorrow but they're trying to make decisions that are better for everybody," said Simpson.

SCCPSS says it understands some parents' frustrations, but officials are asking for patience throughout the repair process.