Schools return to normal schedule after Hurricane Matthew - - Columbia, South Carolina

Schools return to normal schedule after Hurricane Matthew

(Source: WIS) (Source: WIS)

Students at some Midlands districts go back to school Monday after more than a week of closure because of Hurricane Matthew.

Schools in Orangeburg and Lee Counties reopen for classes Monday after they were closed for the hurricane nearly two weeks ago. 

During the storm Bethune-Bowman Middle High School in Orangeburg County was set up as a shelter, housing evacuees from the coast.

But once the shelter closed, Orangeburg Consolidated District 5 officials say the school was one of several countywide without power for nearly a week.

RELATED: See photos of Hurricane Matthew damage from around the Midlands.

On Thursday, Bethune-Bowman was the last school to have power restored. Faculty and staff returned on Friday to begin preparing for this week.

Everyone -- including custodial staff and bus drivers -- has been working diligently to make sure everything is safe for students to return to school Monday. 

"What our drivers normally do after something like this happens is they'll get in their personal vehicles and drive their routes that they normally would take the buses through," said Orangeburg Consolidated District 5 Superintendent Dr. Jesse Washington III. "That's how we find out and know that it's safe for the buses to travel. There were some places that there were low-lying power lines and trees that were blocking the roads and there was just no way that we could get the buses through safely -- which was another reason why we had to stay closed as long as we did."

District officials say for the most part, bus routes should be normal. But they have contacted any families that may have a changed bus route Monday morning.

Some schools were damaged, but it was nothing that would prevent them from opening Monday. 

All districts in Orangeburg County decided to stay on the same schedule so all schools in the county will resume today. Lee County Schools also open Monday.

In the days ahead district officials will consider different dates to start making up the days students missed because of Hurricane Matthew.

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