5 PM UPDATE: Bay District officials announced Sunday that three schools, Tommy Smith Elementary, Waller Elementary and Merritt Brown Middle School will be closed Monday. Students and teachers should not report to school.
The District’s full news release is below: We know many of you are anxious about the fire situation and we share your concerns. We have been in close contact with emergency officials since this situation began and we know our first responders are doing everything possible to save our homes and our community from further damage. I have always said that our first responders are our community heroes and I think we can all see why as we watch the news about the wild fires unfold.
Unfortunately, any fire situation is very fluid and it’s next to impossible to predict what will happen next. Out of an abundance of caution, we have made the difficult decision to close Tommy Smith Elementary, Waller Elementary and Merritt Brown Middle School for Monday only at this time. Employees at those schools, with the exception of administrators, will be off tomorrow and the schools will be closed to students. We know this is an inconvenience for many families but we also know that evacuations and other challenges are placing an undue burden on those communities and we want to do what we can to support those families.
We also know that many of our employees have had to evacuate and that getting to work tomorrow could be challenging. We have sent out a google form to find out how we can help and administrators will be in touch with employees in need if they haven’t already done so. We are working with a myriad of community agencies who want to help our employees and we encourage all employees to complete the google form if they haven’t already done so.
All other BDS schools will be open tomorrow (Monday) but any families who have evacuated, and are unable to get their children to school, should know that our administrators will be as flexible as possible and will work with them on an individual basis.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we all work through this difficult situation together. There is never a one-size-fits-all answer that makes everyone happy but we will always err on the side of the safety of our students and staff. Please continue to follow us on social media for regular updates in case of any additional closures. We do not expect any at this time but, again, the fire situation is unpredictable.
Again, I hope you will join me in continuing to thank our first responders and fire fighters. But also, thank you to all BDS employees for doing their part. Our first responders are depending upon us to do what we do for their children so they can focus on doing what they need to do to fight these fires. Working together, we are #850Strong once more.
1:30 PM UPDATE: Bay District Schools issued this news release.
We know many of you have had to evacuate because of the fires and please know you are in our hearts and prayers.
We are awaiting an afternoon update from emergency management to make any final decisions regarding possible isolated school closures for tomorrow. But please understand that we are only considering extremely isolated closures, if any at all, at this time because our first responders and others need us to do what we do so they can do what we need them to do for our entire community.
We know tomorrow will be a difficult day regardless of what decision is made and we know that all of us will step up for our kids as we always do. Our mental health team will be ready to support our students and staff and we will get through this together AGAIN!
We will continue to update you as we can.
BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Bay District Schools have not made any decisions about whether or not their school schedule will change for Monday. They said they plan for all schools to be open as usual.
School officials said they will be monitoring the fires and remain in close contact with emergency officials.
If anything changes with their usual school schedule they will use their social media, automated phone calls, emails to update parents/guardians and staff.
“Our hearts are with all of those who have directly been impacted by the fires and we stand in awe of the first responders from our community and other communities who are doing all they can to bring an end to this terrible devastation,” BDS Director of Communications Sharon Michalik said.