Aiken County public schools will be closed Friday, Sept. 14, according to Dr. Sean Alford, the district superintendent.
USC Aiken and Aiken Technical College have canceled Friday classes and events. But offices will be open at both schools, and employees should report as scheduled unless other arrangements are made with their supervisors.
Horse Creek Academy and both campuses of Mead Hall Episcopal School also will be closed Friday.
Operations on Monday are still to be determined, according to a public school district statement issued Thursday afternoon. A decision – and proper notification – will be made over the weekend.
Friday’s closures are ahead of Hurricane Florence ’s expected impacts on Aiken County. The closures are, essentially, preemptive and precautionary.
“Although heavy rainfall, winds and power outages are not expected in our area until later Friday night, given the unpredictability of this weather system, our district leaders have made the determination to cancel school for tomorrow,” the district’s statement reads.
Florence is now a Category 2 storm. It was at one point a Category 4.
Local areas may experience high winds, flash flooding and adverse traveling conditions midday Friday.
The school district closed Tuesday after S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster ordered mandatory evacuations along the state’s coast as well as office and school closings in 26 counties.
Aiken County public schools reopened Wednesday and Thursday after McMaster lifted the mandatory shutdown and evacuation orders for some areas.
The actual reopening of school fell to the local level. The decision to close school on Friday was also made at the local level.
“We have appreciated your patience as we have worked in close collaboration with Emergency Management officials to make the best possible decisions regarding school operations,” the district’s statement reads. “The safety of students, faculty, staff and families is of utmost importance to us.”
Horse Creek Academy also will be closed Friday in accordance to Aiken County Public School District, according to a news release from the school.
“HCA places a high priority on the safety of our students, staff, and parents,” according to the release. “This closing is an effort to keep HCA families out of the way of danger that could be associated with the approaching hurricane. Its arrival and conditions are too unpredictable. Therefore, we are taking extra precautions.”
USCA continues to work with S.C. law enforcement and emergency management officials to monitor the path and potential impact of Hurricane Florence, according to the news release.
University services – including police, housing, the cafeteria, the Gregg-Graniteville Library and the Wellness Center – will be available for resident students.
Visit www.usca.edu for information and updates.
Staff writer Larry Wood contributed to this story.