Public schools close as nation braces for Irma

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Students, who were anticipating the resumption of school at the beginning of the new academic year will have to wait a little longer.
The Ministry of Education has ordered that all public educational institutions be closed today and tomorrow as the nation braces for the possible impact of Hurricane Irma.
In a weekend post on the Facebook page of Michael Browne, education minister, the “delayed opening” is due to the evolving uncertainty of the path of Hurricane Irma which is now a Category 3 system, posing an imminent risk to the northernmost Leeward Islands.
However, all administrators, teachers and staff are to report to work on those days, if needed, to make preparations for the possible arrival of the hurricane.
The ministry is encouraging residents to take all “necessary action to secure life and property and urge all to prepare for any eventuality.”
The ministry also said it will continue discussions with the Antigua and Barbuda Metrological Office and the National Office of Disaster (NODS).
According to A C C U W e a t h e r. c o m , Hurricane Irma will skirt across the northern Caribbean islands with flooding rain, damaging winds and dangerous seas before eyeing the East Coast of the United States later this week.
“Rain and gusty winds may start as early as Tuesday,” said Rob Miller, senior meteorologist with AccuWeather.
Up to press time, it was unclear whether private schools will follow the lead of education officials.
The head of at least one primary school said it would be a bit premature to announce closure at this early stage. This newsroom was informed that several preschools on the island have already issued a notice to parents regarding complete closures for the period, while others will operate for only a half day on Monday.
Meanwhile, Alister Thomas, head of the National Parents-Teachers Association (PTA), said he is in support of the “precautionary measure” being taken by the education officials. “I think it will give the school staff time to look at their emergency plan and make further preparations if they have to,” Thomas said.
The local meteorology office is urging residents in Antigua and Barbuda to pay close attention to the passage of Hurricane Irma.

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