Since Saturday, Craven County Schools executive staff members, facilities and maintenance staff, and school leaders have been engaged in damage assessments of schools. Current assessments include flooding in several facilities and water entry in several others. In addition, there is roof and tree damage in multiple locations. Power continues to be out in a majority of our schools as well.
Craven County continues to be under a mandatory evacuation order. A large number of the employees of Craven County Schools took the order to evacuate seriously and have left the state. Unfortunately, many staff members, like many of students and community members, have experienced substantial flooding in their homes affecting much of their personal property. As a result, Craven County Schools will remain closed to 10-month staff through Friday, Sept. 21.
Until the evacuation order is lifted, Craven County Schools strongly recommends that staff members or students who evacuated the area do not return until it is safe to do so. The western county continues to be threatened by rising flood waters from the Neuse and Trent rivers. A timeline for reopening schools will be made in the coming days as officials finalize damage assessments at each site by maintenance staff, school leaders and emergency management.
“We continue to be mindful of the significant losses many in our community have suffered from Hurricane Florence,” the school district said in a news release. “We ask that you continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers. We are encouraged by the giving hearts of our community and all who have already come out to support one another and take care of our neighbors. I am proud of my school leaders and staff members who have been in our community helping families empty homes, working with Samaritan’s Purse, and multiple other organizations to take care of each other. We strongly encourage all who have the means to get involved and assist in any way possible.”
“Craven County Schools is sincerely thankful for all of the organizations and school systems that have reached out to us from across the state and the country. Mrs. Jennifer Wagner, director of Public Relations and Communications (Jennifer.Wagner@cravenk12.org), is coordinating responses to families and staff as well as communication from these organizations. Specifically, we are partnering with RCS to collect donations of nonperishables, clothing, and personal hygiene products. The drop off location is at The Omega Center at 800 Cedar Street in New Bern.
“Craven County Schools would like to thank the work of our first responders, City officials, and County government. Many of our students and staff were rescued by brave men and women conducting swift water rescue in every corner of this county. Our residents have been cared for by our Craven County Department of Social Services social workers and Health Department nurses and have been housed by our schools with school nutrition staff and custodians making sure that our folks were safe, fed, and cared for. We are eternally grateful for the work they have done in the last five days and cannot measure what this has meant to each person they have touched. They are the best of us and represent what is truly great about our community.”