NewsLocal News


Lee Schools continue to adapt after Hurricane Ian

Five more schools reopen on Thursday
Posted at 6:56 AM, Oct 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-20 13:30:05-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — San Carlos Park Elementary opened Thursday to students from Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel schools.

Those students had to be relocated after Hurricane Ian damaged schools there.

Some schools are partnering up with others and are taking a different approach.

Lexington Middle School will not reopen instead will go virtual to make sure all students can continue learning after the storm until the building is ready for students.

It was one of the schools in Lee County that the district said had a lot of damage, including water damage and heavy debris from Hurricane Ian.

Superintendent Christopher Bernier said Lexington Middle School and Diplomat Middle School, would both be ready to reopen by October 31.

Schools must meet 9 criteria including reliable power, air conditioning, and most important air quality.

But progress is being made daily on getting these schools safe for kids.

Today school officials at Lexington Middle School are meeting with parents for a reunification plan. That’s where parents will have a chance to ask questions and pick up needed Chromebooks and hotspots.

That’s at the cypress lake high school auditorium starting at 3 pm.

He said by far The Sanibel School, Fort Myers Beach Elementary, and Hector A. Cafferata Elementary saw the worst damage.

He said Cafferata students could return to the campus soon, but not the building.

“When you see the extensive damage that building is going to need a longer return. In fact we’re making some decisions with the school board moving forward about setting up a temporary campus for Cafferata so those students get back to their environment,” he said.

He said it’s too early to say if they will need to be torn down completely and then rebuilt as the school district is still assessing the damages.

“That will give us a pathway forward and it will give us an idea of what costs are,” he said.

He said right now the priority is having a safe environment for the students to return to.

“In the future we’ll be making some decisions regarding mandatory attendance, but right now I want families to have the opportunities to recover,” he said.

Bernier said Lee County Schools have seen more than 90% of their students return to school.