Cumberland County teachers prepare for students to return Monday

The damage Hurricane Matthew caused in Cumberland County forced the school district to shut down for a week, but officials say schools will reopen Monday morning.

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — The damage Hurricane Matthew caused in Cumberland County forced the school district to shut down for a week, but officials say schools will reopen Monday morning.

On Friday, teachers and administrators spent the day reuniting and cleaning up their classrooms.

At Reid Ross Classical School in Fayetteville, counselor Elizabeth Linville said she is preparing to help students deal with the traumatic aftermath of the storm.

"They need to express it, especially if their home is still underwater, or if they have any family that is still suffering. We just need to be here,” she said. “It's very important to listen to them and not just brush it off."

Principal Tom Hatch said he does not want his teachers jumping right back into reading, writing, science and math.

"It's really just going to be, 'What did you experience? What was it like for you? Did you have a loss?'" Hatch said.

Superintendent Frank Till said for the most part school buildings survived the storm. However, there was some standing water outside of schools, a few leaky roofs and many buildings lost power.

"The power is back on, and we had water yesterday," he said. "We lost water in one school, but we will deal with that on Monday. So, physically we are not pretty, but we are good enough to go."

Till said they can't wait until every road is fixed and flood waters fully recede. He said students need to get back to school, and doing so will help the community return to normal.

"As long as the kids are not in school there is no normalcy. Whatever that normal is," he said.

Cumberland County schools will operate on a two-hour delay on Monday. Till said he wants the sun to be up when buses hit the road and students begin walking to school.

How to Clean

When Hurricane Matthew’s floodwaters recede, homeowners should assume that everything touched by flood water is contaminated and will need to be disinfected.

  • Flood water leaves behind silt and mud - wear sturdy shoes to prevent slipping and falling. Gloves provide additional protection from contamination and frequent hand washing is recommended. If a backflow of sewage has gotten into the house, wear rubber boots and waterproof gloves during cleanup.
  • Remove and discard contaminated household materials that cannot be disinfected, such as rugs and drywall. Wash all linens and clothing in hot water or have them dry-cleaned. Throw out anything that cannot be washed, such as mattresses and upholstered furniture or air dry them in the sun and then spray them thoroughly with a disinfectant.   
  • Walls, hard-surface floors and many other household surfaces should be cleaned with soap and water and disinfected with a solution of one cup bleach to five gallons of water. Use a two-bucket method, one for the cleaning solution and the other for rinse water, and replace the rinse water frequently.
  • Mildew can be removed with a household mildew cleaner or by using 1/4 cup of laundry bleach in one gallon of water.
  • Disinfect surfaces that may come in contact with food – counter tops, pantry shelves, refrigerators, etc. If power has been off, throw away food that has been without refrigeration for more than two hours. Boxed foods (cereals, crackers, pastas, etc.) that became wet need to be thrown away - when in doubt, throw it out.
  • Brooms, mops, brushes, sponges, buckets, hose, rubber gloves, rags, cleaning solutions, disinfectants, trash bags, and even a hair dryer should be on your cleaning list. If the tasks ahead seem overwhelming, try focusing on one room at a time.


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