Bradley County Director of Schools Johnny McDaniel said the decision was made to close schools after talking to Troy Spence of EMA about hazardous road conditions.
“We didn’t close school for rain,” McDaniel said. “We closed it for flooding.”
McDaniel said Spence recommended against running the school buses today due to flooding on low-lying roads.
Some county schools had issues with leaking roofs, but no major damage had been reported as of this morning, McDaniel said.
The director of schools said he had not been out to the schools yet. McDaniel will be getting more information throughout the day. The Central Office staff were given the option to come to work if they could do so safely.
The flooding and seepage problems at city schools appear to be temporary, with most of the difficulties already addressed.
Dr. Martin Ringstaff, director of Cleveland City Schools, said the weather problems should not affect this afternoon’s 5 p.m. school board meeting at Blythe-Bower Elementary.
“The only reason we would postpone the meeting would be travel hazards,” he said.
Ringstaff will inform the board of the school system’s overnight weather problems.
The city school board is expected to consider a motion from the site selection committee on a location for a proposed new elementary school.
Ringstaff expressed his appreciation today to Cleveland High School coaches, school system administrators and maintenance crews for responding (on a holiday) to several flooding situations at city schools.
“I don’t think we had a lot of damage, but there was standing water in several locations and we were busy sand-bagging some areas,” Ringstaff said.
Cleveland High School’s new, multimillion-dollar science wing had some standing water. “The new drains didn’t draw water as well as we anticipated,” the school director said. “Some water came in on the ground floor and it was hard to divert it.”
Ringstaff added that there was some leakage from underneath the gymnasium, from some other locations in the gym lobby, and on the outside of the buildings at the high school.
“Cleveland Middle School had some leakage in the auditorium and gymnasium areas, but those are quick fixes,” Ringstaff said.
Stuart and Arnold suffered some minor seepage underneath doors, but there were no major damage areas.
The city’s director of schools emphasized that the rainfall, which began Monday, was excessive. He emphasized a normal rain would not have created the problems experienced overnight.
He said the excessive rain brought out some new diversion areas the school system needs to take a look at. The same appears true for the Bradley County Schools system.
Both local colleges, Lee University and Cleveland State Community College, are open and conducting regularly scheduled classes today.