[UPDATED] Hurricane causes minor damage, closes JC
[UPDATED 8/29] – JC is to close on Aug 30.
Any chance of having school on Aug 29 was gone with the wind in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. Harford County Public Schools called for a code green “due to county-wide damage caused by Hurricane Irene.” A code green signifies that only essential custodial staff should be present in school buildings.
“Closing the school is not really our call,” Vice Principal Gary Scholl said. Scholl was one of the members of the administration at school on Monday morning, regardless of the closing. “They [Harford County Public Schools] have resources that we don’t to assess the situation. They are in touch with emergency services that we don’t have access to.”
Damage to the school was slight. “We are not able to receive incoming calls, but the school survived relatively unscathed,” Scholl said.
Director of Facilities Stewart Walker, who has been checking the grounds for damage, agreed with Scholl. “There’s a little bit of leaf litter and some branch damage, but nothing major,” Walker said.
The worst of the damage caused by school property was a tree that had become uprooted. However, this did not affect JC. “The power lines are directly adjacent to the border of the school,” Walker said.
“Some trees went down, but they took down Homestead’s power,” Scholl said.
Homestead Village, the neighborhood affected by the uprooted tree, is still partially without power according to Charles Stevens, a 46-year resident of the neighborhood.
Although school was closed, it will not affect snow days. “We have three days built into the schedule before we have to use snow days,” Principal Madelyn Ball said.
In Ball’s mind, using one of these extra days was a wise choice, too. “I think it was a smart move because of the traffic situation and I imagine that many students still don’t have power.”
Science teacher Tim Perry agrees with Ball’s viewpoint, though he expressed regret that Irene forced the school’s closure for today.
“It’s a deflation of anticipation,” Perry said, “I think it was a smart move by the county. It’s unfortunate, but it’s good that no students were put in harm’s way. [Though] The school doesn’t come alive until the students are here.”
Earlier today, Ball was not sure of a second school closure, however according to hcps.org, all Harford County schools will close on Aug 30 as well.
Martha Schick is a Managing Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.