FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) – Nearly three weeks after Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwest Florida, students in the area’s largest school district were ready to return to class.
The Lee County School District said 28 schools will reopen Monday and Tuesday, and another 32 have been cleared to reopen soon. The district has almost 120 schools.
Staff at the reopened schools were invited to catch up on Monday’s lesson schedule, with students returning on Tuesday to reunite with their classmates and classes resumed on Wednesday.
Pupils in schools that have been damaged or not evacuated will be sent to other schools for the time being.
Chief Inspector Christopher Bernier said the biggest obstacle to reopening schools was air quality testing.
“Samples have been sent to the lab for every school that can open and we are waiting for the results,” Bernier said in a video message. “Like you, I want those results back as soon as possible, but I also won’t decide to open a school until we’ve documented that the air inside is safe.”
With over 100 dead, Ian was the third deadliest storm to hit the U.S. mainland this century, after hurricane Katrinawhich killed about 1,400 people, and hurricane Sandykilling 233 despite weakening to a tropical storm just before landfall.
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