PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — With areas of Panama City flooding on Thursday morning, some parents were concerned if they would be able to take their child to school. Some were also unsure if their child’s school would be open.
Bay District Schools decided to keep all schools open and on time, but allowed students to receive excused absences if their parent or guardian calls the school principal, saying the child missed school because of flooding.
“So it’s always been our policy that if a parent believes it’s unsafe for their child to travel to school, they simply need to call the principal and talk that through,” Bay District Schools Director of Communications Sharon Michalik said. “And we’re going to do anything we can to work with that family and excuse that absence.”
However, parents must call the principal for the absence to be excused. If they are unable to contact the school Thursday, Michalik is urging parents to call again on Friday.
“We can’t just sort of wave a blanket wand and say everybody who didn’t come to school today is excused,” Michalik said. “We do need the parents to call so we have documentation of that.”
The school system decided to keep schools open to accommodate parents who still had to work, despite the flooding.
“We always want to focus on student safety and the safety of our staff, that is certainly our number one priority,” Michalik said. “But it’s also a balancing act because banks are open today, stores are open today, doctor’s offices are open today and all those employees count on being able to bring their students to school.”
Thursday morning, schools in Callaway, Lynn Haven, and Parker dealt with flooding, whereas other schools around the district saw little rain.
“The weather pretty much impacted our entire community in different ways,” Michalik said. “It’s not as bad on the beach right now as it is in areas of Parker and Callaway and Lynn Haven.”