Update Oct. 3, 2019: The first official day back to school has been rescheduled for Monday, Oct. 7.
By Peter Vankevich
Hyde County Superintendent of Schools Steve Basnight announced today at the OVFD, where Gov. Cooper and several of the state secretaries addressed Ocracoke residents, that students will return to classrooms on Monday.
But students will be divided among three locations on the island.
When Hurricane Dorian struck Ocracoke and the Outer Banks on Sept. 6, the storm surge flooding caused significant vehicle and property damage island-wide, including the school.
Up to 10 inches of water inside the main building caused severe damage to the walls and floors. The shop class in a separate campus building on Back Road got up to 40 inches, destroying most of the equipment.
“We will not be having school on our campus for some time, except to use the upstairs in one building that was not damaged,” Basnight said. “The deconstruction mold and muck mitigation at the school is going well and we are providing a place where we can start putting some stuff back in the building. We have to bring the teachers in this week to start looking at what they have left and what they’ll need to start school.”
As it stands, Pre-K to first grade will relocate to Ocracoke Child Care on Old Beach Road. Second through grades five will be on the second floor of the elementary building, which has been cleared after air quality and mold testing. The remaining grades will be at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching building (NCCAT) adjacent to the ferry docks in the village.
A press release on Sept. 20 stated that the NCCAT Board of Trustees last Friday voted unanimously to allow Ocracoke School to use the NCCAT Ocracoke Campus building for secondary classes until January.
“Hyde County Schools Superintendent Steve Basnight reached out to me to see if they could utilize our facility,” said NCCAT Executive Director M. Brock Womble. “We feel like the most valuable thing NCCAT can do for Ocracoke School and Ocracoke Island is to be a resource to help them rebuild.”
During this time, NCCAT will continue to offer professional development at its western campus in Cullowhee, online, and in schools throughout the state, Womble said.
“We are absolutely blessed to have been offered the NCCAT building until Jan. 1,” said Basnight at today’s gathering.
To read a feature on the work of NCCAT, click here.
The school got some good news today when State School Superintendent Mark Johnson announced that the NC Department of Public Instruction is providing 200 iPads to help students stay on schedule with their schoolwork.