Louisa News

Portsia Smith covers Louisa County crime and news.

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Louisa High, Thomas Jefferson Elementary closed for rest of the school year


Two Louisa County schools will be closed for the rest of the school year due to damage from Tuesday’s earthquake.

Structural engineers advised school officials that Thomas Jefferson Elementary and Louisa County High schools cannot be used for at least this school year.

Superintendent Deborah Pettit (left), Supervisor Richard Havasy (center) and school board member Brian Huffman survey damage to Louisa County High school. Credit: Alexa Welch Edlund/Richmond Times-Dispatch

School spokesperson Jaclyn O’Laughlin said today that access to both schools is very limited because of the weak structure and a final report from engineers may not be available for a few weeks.

Louisa’s other four schools also received some structural damage, she said, but can be occupied with limitations during high winds.

Schools in Louisa County opened Aug. 15, and students were in classes when the magnitude-5.8 earthquake struck Tuesday afternoon, with its epicenter in the heart of that county. Six students suffered minor injuries, school officials said.

School will re-open on Sept. 12 and the last day of class is rescheduled for June 15, O’Laughlin said.

School division counselors and psychologists will be available when students return to school, she said.

Students and staff at Thomas Jefferson Elementary will be moved to Trevilians Elementary, with 25 additional mobile units added, she said. Their six-hour school day will remain the same, but likely on staggered start times.

Middle and high school students will share Louisa Middle School on an alternating day schedule, O’Laughlin said.

High school students will attend on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and middle school students will attend on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. School will be in session all week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., she said.

O’Laughlin said this will be a temporary fix until mid-January when a mobile high school is established somewhere near the middle school and then those two schools will return to a normal schedule.

“At this time, Louisa County Public School is hoping to continue athletic and extracurricular programs as much as possible so that our students’ eductional experience is as normal as possible,” O’Laughlin said.

All Louisa students, except for those at Thomas Jefferson, are allowed to pick up their backpacks and other belongs this afternoon from2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

School officials said the other students will be notified as soon as possible when a date and time has been set for them to retrieve their personal items.

Due to all six schools being closed through Labor Day, school nutrition services donated fresh milk, produce and other perishable items to the Louisa’s Community Cupboard for the community to use.

The items will be available for pick-up at the Community Cupboard starting today during the the following hours: Monday, Wednesday and Friday:  9 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday:  11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The address of the Community Cupboard is: 147 Resource Lane,Louisa, VA 23093.

For more information, contact Donna Isom, director of Community Cupboard, at (540) 967-3577 or (540) 967-1510.

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