Duval schools’ quick change into storm shelters, back again


When Hurricane Irma and its floods hit the First Coast September 10-12, greater than three,000 individuals took shelter within the metropolis’s eleven open shelters. Ten of these shelters have been situated in Duval County public faculties.

District officers talked just lately concerning the impression of the storm on district employees, funds and properties.

The coping effort was greater than a matter of numbers, stated Don Nelson, assistant superintendent of operations for the district. Dozens of individuals labored arduous and quick to first create shelters after which restore the shelter faculties so they might reopen for college kids.

“It was no straightforward feat,” Nelson informed the Faculty Board. “It takes 4 to 5 hours per faculty to take a shelter down and deep clear and disinfect a faculty … The shelter draw-down was probably the most troublesome part.”

Earlier than the storm a crew of eleven staff took from storage and distributed 1,335 particular wants cots, 1,235 commonplace cots, 315 animal cages, 800 sleeping mats and 1,four hundred blankets to the shelter faculties, he stated.

Amongst these shelters have been 4 faculties with constructed-in particular gear to deal with individuals with medical or different particular wants.

At Atlantic Coast Excessive, for example, gear descended from the ceiling to the gymnasium flooring to energy medical beds and gear. Ambulances from across the state deposited sufferers there to be handled by nurses and docs in the course of the storm, Nelson stated.

“There have been instances the place individuals would come proper from surgical procedure and a short while within the hospital on to one among our particular wants shelters,” Nelson stated. “Once I was at Atlantic Coast … six ambulances pulled up directly from Alachua County.”

He estimated greater than 2,four hundred individuals used the varsity shelters complete, or about 15 % of their complete capability of sixteen,one hundred fifty individuals. The remaining visited the town’s Legends Middle shelter.

After Hurricane Irma blew north out of the area, a gaggle of about greater than 200 Duval faculty staff shaped groups to rework these district shelters in a single day again into faculties.

That meant placing again into storage all these cots, the beds and blankets, eradicating protecting flooring from health club flooring, and cleansing and disinfecting loos and full buildings, regardless that most shelter use was restricted to gyms, cafeterias and hallways. The district deployed groups of 30 custodians for every shelter, he stated.

At first it wasn’t clear when the faculties would reopen. District officers didn’t determine…



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