Most Sevier, Cocke Cty schools open Friday

Several East Tennessee school systems are closed Tuesday due to the threat of wildfires.

3 PM Thursday update: All but two schools in Sevier County will be open Friday for classes.

The two that will be closed are Pi Beta Phi Elementary School and Gatlinburg-Pittman High School.

The high school is expected to reopen Monday.

Because of damage, it's likely Pi Beta Phi students won't go back to their school until "the beginning of the second semester," according to school system officials.

Pi Beta Phi is in the heart of Gatlinburg off Cherokee Orchard Road and suffered smoke damage from this week's wildfire. It remains standing.

A plan is being developed for the children who usually attend it, according to Debra Cline, assistant superintendent.

By the middle of next week, it's expected that kindergarten through fifth-grade students at Pi Beta Phi will be moved to the old Pittman Center Elementary School, according to Cline.

Pi Beta Phi sixth-graders will be at the Eugene W. Huskey Environmental Center. Also, seventh and eighth grade students will be moved to the Boys and Girls Club of Gatlinburg facility, which is on the campus of Gatlinburg-Pittman High School.

In Cocke County, all schools will be open Friday except Smoky Mountain Elementary School. The school suffered storm damage Monday and remains closed through the week, according to the school system.

3 PM Wednesday update: Most schools in Sevier and Cocke counties will be open Thursday for classes, but there are a couple exceptions, according to educators.

All Sevier County schools but two will be open Thursday. The two that will be closed are Pi Beta Phi Elementary School and Gatlinburg-Pittman High School.

In Cocke County, all schools will be open Thursday except Smoky Mountain Elementary School. The school suffered storm damage Monday and remains closed through the week, according to the school system.

In McMinn County, which saw tornado strikes early Wednesday, schools will be closed Thursday because of large power outages.

7:30 a.m. Wednesday Update: McMinn County Schools will be closed Wednesday due to storm damage north of Athens.

Meigs County Schools, Athens City Schools and Etowah City Schools will also be closed Wednesday due to storm damages or severe weather conditions.

The area is also experiencing power outages.

5:30 PM TUESDAY UPDATE: Cocke County Schools will be closed Wednesday as crews continue the fight against the wildfires in Sevier County.

Sevier County Schools previously announced its schools would also be closed on Wednesday. 

3 PM TUESDAY UPDATE: Sevier County schools suffered "minimal" fire damage but some wind damage in Monday's storms, according to the school system.

Pi Beta Phi Elementary School was not hurt by fire, according to Dr. Debra Cline, chief information officer with the Sevier system. But, it did have "some minor wind and smoke damage."

Winds also damaged the roof at Wearwood Elementary School in Wears Valley.

"We have a crew in place at Wearwood today cleaning up the four classrooms that were impacted. Window repairs in an art room and cleaning up of smoke damage will occur quickly at Pi Beta Phi once local authorities deem it safe for our crews can get back into the building," according to Cline's statement in a release.

School will not be held Wednesday, and administrators will continue to assess daily operations.

Announcements will be made through the media and the system's electronic communications system.

Many students and employees have been displaced by the fires, according to the school system.

PREVIOUS STORY:  Several East Tennessee school systems are closed Tuesday due to the threat of wildfires. 

Sevier County, Cocke County and Greene County schools are all closed Tuesday due to either the threat of nearby wildfires or heavy smoke and wind damage.

Walters State Community College's Sevierville campus is closed Tuesday.

Cocke County schools run two hours late.

Newport Grammar School will also be closed Tuesday.

 


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