School bus

While some schools in The T&D Region are scheduled to remain open today, others will remain closed or be dismissed early as Hurricane Dorian continues to chart an unpredictable course in the Atlantic.

School officials are preparing for the possibility that Hurricane Dorian will cause problems for the area, but are largely taking a wait-and-see approach before announcing any closures.

Orangeburg County School District schools will dismiss early Wednesday because of the potential for severe weather conditions associated with Hurricane Dorian.

The district said elementary schools will dismiss at 1 p.m. Wednesday. Middle and high schools will dismiss at 1:30 p.m. Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School bus students will be dismissed at 1:45 p.m.

All after-school activities are also cancelled for Wednesday.

The district stated that "decisions about later closings will come forth as necessary." In the meantime, O-W and Lake Marion high schools will be open as shelters beginning at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Bamberg County School District 1 will dismiss at 1 p.m. Wednesday. A decision regarding Thursday will be made as soon as possible Wednesday.

In Bamberg School District 2, Denmark-Olar Middle will dismiss at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. The elementary school will dismiss at 11:45 a.m. The high school will dismiss at noon. The students will receive lunch before dismissal. Students and staff will not report on Thursday. The regular class schedule resumes Friday.

Calhoun County School District Superintendent Dr. Steve Wilson said the district's two K-8 schools, St. Matthews K-8 and Sandy Run K-8, will dismiss at 1 p.m. Wednesday. Calhoun County High School will dismiss at 1:15 p.m.

As for the rest of the week, Wilson said, "We're going to take it one day at a time. We don't know about Thursday yet."

Orangeburg Preparatory School Head of School Evan Powell said schools would be open on Wednesday and that a decision would be made regarding the rest of the week around midday.

Calvin Wright, executive director of the Orangeburg-Bamberg-Calhoun Community Action Agency Inc., said Tuesday that all Head Start Centers in Orangeburg and Calhoun counties would close at 1 p.m. Wednesday. The Denmark Head Start Center will also close at 1 p.m.

"We'll be upgrading as warranted. All other administrative offices will report. Unless there is something very dire, we'll work our regular schedule," Wright said.

Orangeburg Christian Academy Principal Cynthia Poor said school will be open on Wednesday.

"We're just kind of taking it day by day. We would close if there was a reason to do that, but right now everything seems to be OK," Poor said.

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Connie Carson, office administrator at Wesley Christian School, said school would be open on Wednesday.

"We're going to wait until Wednesday to see how Thursday plays out" before a decision is made on the rest of the week, Carson said.

Calhoun Academy Principal Becky Haigler said while the school is planning to be open on Wednesday, "We're really going to play it day by day. We're just monitoring the weather."

Shannon Strickland, information technology specialist at Holly Hill Academy, said, "We will be closing Wednesday at noon and then Thursday and Friday all day."

Dorchester Academy’s school and after-care is closed Wednesday and Thursday.

Some school officials are opting to wait to make a decision on closures Wednesday morning.

Yvonne Birt, office manager in Barnwell School District 19, said district officials will make a decision at approximately 10 a.m. Wednesday morning about if or when schools will be closed.

Andrew Jackson Academy Head of School Jamie Barnes said his school will be making a decision on when and if it will be closed the rest of the week on Wednesday morning.

As for the colleges and universities, South Carolina State and Claflin universities will be closed through Friday.

Claflin posted on its website that evening classes and activities are also canceled. Students are advised to check Moodle for any instructions from professors on assignments.

If conditions from Hurricane Dorian warrant, Claflin announced it will provide shelter and meals in the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Complex on campus.

S.C. State announced Tuesday in a press release that while students will not attend classes, university offices will remain open until further notice.

Students who are not on campus as the result of previous weather-related cancellations are encouraged not to return to campus. Any students who remain on campus after 7 p.m. Wednesday will have to comply with a mandatory evacuation from residence halls and report to Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center.

All Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College classes will dismiss at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday and no afternoon or evening classes will be held. The campus will close at 1:30 p.m. Changes to Thursday's normal operating schedule will be announced by Wednesday afternoon.

Anne Kline, Denmark Tech's public information coordinator, said there were no plans to close the college on Wednesday or the rest of the week.

"If something changes, or the (storm) path or anything changes and looks like it will come closer, obviously we'd reconsider," Kline said.

Megan Freeman, director of communications at Voorhees College, said the college is expected to be open on Wednesday, but media outlets would be notified "if anything changes."

"We now have emergency shelter accommodations located in the Leonard E. Dawson Center on campus," Freeman said via email on Tuesday.

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Contact the writer: dgleaton@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5534. Follow "Good News with Gleaton" on Twitter at @DionneTandD.


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