Updated: Citrus County Schools closing and shelter plans start to form

Hurricane Irma
Photo Credit: Facebook/CSCO

Lecanto, FL–According to sources, the Citrus County School District is planning to keep public schools open on Thursday but only keep them open a half a day on Friday to allow usage of certain school facilities as shelter locations.

However, at the end of this article, it becomes clear that Citrus County Superintendent of Schools, Sandra “Sam” Himmel, is not as specific in a automated communication planned to be sent to parents of Citrus County public school students tonight at 6 PM.

Citrus County Administrator, Randy Oliver, informed the Suncoast Standard that members of the Citrus County BOCC, Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, and Citrus County School District have conducted Joint Policy meetings at the Emergency Operations Center in Lecanto at 2 PM on Tuesday and Wednesday and have plans to meet at 2 PM tomorrow and on Friday, as well. According to Oliver, Citrus County government intends to remain open through Friday at 5 PM.

Earlier in the day, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office shared a Citrus County Evacuation Map on its Facebook page.

Observers believe that since the CCSO disclosed shelter information on its Facebook page today, shelter locations and hours of operation would soon be shared, perhaps as soon as tomorrow after the next Joint Policy meeting.

Oliver stated at press time no official decisions on mandatory evacuations have been made yet.

But, he did indicate that the County has enacted a local declaration of emergency to assist ongoing efforts to coordinate with FEMA programs and procedures. The declaration took place today during the Joint Policy meeting at the EOC.

Oliver also stated that Citrus County administrative and director-level staff were almost entirely FEMA-certified, attributing such a high-level of training on post-Hermine awareness and policy-setting.

The goal, apparently, according to sources, is to have shelter locations open and operational to those who may need them by Friday at 4 PM.

County employees are not permitted under law to operate transit vehicles when winds are over 40 MPH so there will only be a small window of time between school closings and shelter openings to transport those with public transportation needs from evacuation zones to public shelter.

Seven Rivers Christian School In Citrus County announced today that it will only be open on Friday if Citrus County Public Schools is, intending to follow the decision of Citrus County Schools Superintendent, Sandra “Sam” Himmel. They will, however be closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Himmel has set up an automated call to be placed with all parents of Citrus County pubic school students who have registered for such automated messages. The call will be placed at 6 PM and here is the full text of the call in its entirety:

“This is Sam Himmel, your Superintendent of Schools. I am calling regarding Hurricane Irma. After speaking with state and local officials, the decision has been made to maintain our regular school schedule for Thursday, September 7th. However, a decision regarding the closing of school for Friday has yet to be made. My staff and I are in regular communication with both the state and local official regarding this powerful and far reaching storm.  Please know my staff and I are committed to keeping you informed as the storm progresses and decisions are made. Once again, school will be open on Thursday, and a decision regarding Friday will be made as more information becomes available. I encourage everyone to take precautionary steps to prepare for a massive storm. Thank you and be safe.”

At press time, we do not have a list of shelter locations.

This is a developing story.

Submitted by Lou Newman, Publisher, on September 6, 2017 at 3:35 PM

Updated by Lou Newman, Publisher, on September 6, 2017 at 5:37 PM

Suncoast Standard (c) 2017. All rights reserved.




  1. Why is Citrus County the only County not to close schools? I thought student safety is a priority…or does that not count for Citrus? SMH

  2. If you have a child in school and you decide it’s time to leave, then pack up and get out of Dodge. Don’t let a school’s schedule sway your decision to protect your loved ones.

Leave a Reply