School damage reports changing rapidly; start times could be pushed back

By MetroNews in News
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State school leaders are taking post-flood procedures day by day and assessment by assessment.

Damage has been reported in schools in 25 of the state’s 55 counties.

“I’m hopeful, but in some cases we’re very concerned about the severe damage,” said West Virginia Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano.

Tuesday morning he was meeting with local superintendents for updates on flood damage.

“My main concerns are in the counties of Kanawha, Nicholas, Clay and Greenbrier. Some of the schools have experienced extensive damage in those areas that are still unveiling themselves as we go,” Martirano told MetroNews “Talkline” listeners.

Eight schools have been labeled as severely damaged.

In Clay County, H. E. White Elementary School and the county bus garage are on that list.

Similar damage has been reported at Herbert Hoover High School and Clendenin and Bridge Elementary Schools in Kanawha County.

Richwood High and Middle Schools in Nicholas County are also among the worst flooded.

“What we’ve been able to narrow down is some of these schools were highly ravaged by these waters. The height of the water was unbelievable in some of them,” Martirano exclaimed. “We’ve lost equipment. I’m concerned about technology. I’m concerned about personal equipment for our teachers.”

According to Martirano, filing insurance claims will be a tedious process.
The state board of education and Education Alliance plan to launch a website for supply donations.

Nine schools have been moderately damaged according to early assessments.

Those included Flatwoods Elementary, Clay High School, Alderson Elementary, Rupert Elementary, Rainelle Elementary, Elkview Middle School, Warm Springs Intermediate and Middle Schools and Berkeley Springs High School.

But, reports have been evolving as days pass.

“We’ve had some challenges even getting into some of our schools. It’s been difficult. For us it’s a very dynamic process of finding out and assessing the damage,” Martirano explained.

Minor damages were reported at Braxton County’s Middle Burch, Burnsville and Sutton Elementary Schools. Fayette County’s Anstead Elementary, Webster County’s Glade Elementary and Monongalia County’s Eastwood Elementary have minor damages.

Martirano said resuming classes on a regular scheduling in some of the affected areas is questionable.

“Some of the schools I’m getting some encouraging feedback that we will be ready to open. Others are looking for alternative environments, looking at schools within the counties to maybe have adjusted schedules. We are considering every variable right now knowing the clock is ticking.”

Five days after torrential storms devastated multiple communities, state school officials were undetermined if school would be ready for the first day of school.

Meanwhile, three schools have been used for temporary shelters.