Three Arundel schools damaged by storm remain closed today

February 25, 2003|By Ryan Davis | Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF

Three of the four Anne Arundel County schools that were closed yesterday -- Severn River and Magothy River middle schools in Arnold and Marley Elementary School in Glen Burnie -- will remain shut for at least another day, school officials said.

By tomorrow, officials hope to reopen the storm-damaged building that houses Severn River and Magothy River middle schools, but they will not be certain of its status until this afternoon. A portion of the roof collapsed Saturday, and building inspectors must examine it before pupils can return, school spokeswoman Jane Beckett-Donohue said.

At Marley Elementary, several classrooms sustained snowstorm-related water damage, Beckett-Donohue said.

Waugh Chapel Elementary School in Odenton -- which sent home all of its approximately 375 pupils at 11 a.m. yesterday because the school's heating system was broken -- was expected to reopen this morning. The heat was fixed by the time the children were dismissed, but the temperature in the building remained at about 50 degrees, said Principal Joyce Sims.

Children attended classes wearing coats and gloves while teachers, secretaries and administrators scrambled to call as many parents as possible before sending the pupils home. For most students throughout the area, yesterday marked the first day back to school after a week off because of the biggest snowstorm in the area on record.

During the weekend, county school facilities workers inspected all 77 elementary schools, 19 middle schools and 12 high schools, as well as all other learning facilities.

The worst damage was at 29-year-old Severn River Middle School, where the roof caved in on the administrative office area, Beckett-Donohue said.

"It was just one heck of a mess," she said. A damage estimate was not available.

No damage occurred at Magothy River Middle School, but because the schools are joined, both were closed. Together, they hold about 1,700 pupils.

It remained unclear whether pupils at the schools closed yesterday and today would make up the time they miss this week.

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