Horry County schools face ‘really big challenge’ with clean up, power outages

LITTLE RIVER, SC (WBTW) – Horry County schools will be closed again on Wednesday as many schools in the district still don’t have power and some were damaged by Hurricane Matthew.

“The district is making progress but its been a huge issue,” said Horry County School District spokesperson, Teal Harding. “I think the hurricane was more than we anticipated that it was going to be but we’re very blessed it wasn’t more than what it was.”

One school with heavy damage is Waterway Elementary School in Little River. Crews removed a twelve thousand pound make-up air unit from the top of the school after the storm picked it up and tossed it several feet.

“From the indications we have, there appears to have been a tornado that probably is the most likely culprit from what happened,” said Executive Director of Facilities, Mark Wolfe. Most of the damage to other Horry County schools includes downed trees and power outages.

Once the power comes back on, Wolfe says staff members still have to check panels, fire alarms, sensors and technology in classrooms.

“There’s so much that has to be done because we’re so digitally connected these days. It just takes a long time to physically go through every classroom and make sure everything is done,” added Wolfe.

Harding says staff members will meet on Wednesday morning to determine if school will be open on Thursday. Some make-up days have been scheduled for President’s Day and the Monday after spring break. Harding says those were already in the 2016-2017 calendar and parents should expect their kids to be in school those two days.

“We are just as eager as anyone to get the schools back open,” said Harding. “But we’ve gotta do that in a correct order to ensure safety once everyone is here.”