Polk County officials announced that public schools will be closed Thursday, Oct. 6, and Friday, Oct. 7 because of Hurricane Matthew.
Polk County is the only Tampa Bay area school district so far announce it will close schools.
Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for the entire state, and Polk, Sumter, and Highlands Counties are under a Tropical Storm warning.
Scott also closed state offices in 26 counties on Thursday and Friday, including Polk and Highlands.
Jason Geary, a spokesperson for Polk County Schools, said the school buildings need to be available for those who evacuate.
"Some of our schools are going to be serving as shelters for those who are more directly impacted by Hurricane Matthew. We also anticipate that there could be some significant wind and other weather conditions."
In addition, school sports and activities scheduled for those days are being rescheduled, and in some cases, canceled. After school activities and evening adult classes are also being cancelled on those days.
Geary said parents will be kept in the loop through automated phone calls.
The decision to close is not binding to charter and private schools, so parents should contact them directly for more information.
We’ll post additional closures here as they’re announced.
Polk County Shelters:
- Alta Vista Elementary, 801 Scenic Highway in Haines City
- Ridge Community High, 500 Orchid Drive in Davenport
- Spook Hill Elementary, 321 Dr. J. A. Wiltshire Ave E. in Lake Wales