Lee County will get the go-ahead next week to open new schools, as well as temporary campuses and hotspots to help with Internet access.

That’s just some of the important information Lee County school officials discussed during a news conference Thursday.

The 13 schools expected to open Monday are listed below:

  • Bonita Springs Elementary School
  • Bonita Springs is close
  • Colonial elementary
  • Diplomat Elementary
  • Franklin Park Elementary School
  • Elementary Bay
  • Fort Myers Middle
  • Orange River Elementary
  • Orangewood Elementary School
  • Three Oaks Elementary
  • Tice Elementary
  • Trafalgar Primary School
  • Tropic Isles Elementary School

The district appointed 13 lucky people to these schools.

The head said 11 more schools were expected to open on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday, Dr. Chirstoffer Bernier estimates that another 38 schools will be given the green light to open their doors.

Air quality tests must be completed in each building before students, teachers and staff return to classrooms.

Dr. Bernier said these results are one of the most important things they are waiting for to get kids back into the classroom. They test the air quality in every school, even if it didn’t suffer that much damage.

It is one of nine criteria schools must meet before opening. The rest include reliable water, electricity, air conditioning, working fire alarms and sound systems.

Gov. Ron DeSantis came to Southwest Florida on Thursday to reinforce his message that he will do everything he can to get kids back to school in a safe environment.

“Here in Lee County, under the leadership of Secretary Diaz, they have been working directly with the utility companies to prioritize school power restoration. They worked with the Department of Emergency Management to get generators to schools where needed. They worked with our Management Services department to provide Elon Musk’s Starlink internet for schools. I mean, some of the internet isn’t connected to some of the cable companies yet, so you have Starlink, which can be the difference in being able to do everything. The Department of Education also helped move portable classrooms and classroom supplies, and of course, our Department of Transportation helped clear debris from bus stops, bus routes, and campuses. And of course they did a lot more,” DeSantis said.

Once schools are cleared to reopen, teachers and staff will hold a day of bonding and the following day will serve as an open house for students and families. They can check out their old or new class and get a glimpse into the rest of the school year.

For teachers returning to the classroom on Monday, Thursday was a reunion with other teachers and staff.

On Friday, parents and students will walk the halls, mingle with teachers and see what the rest of this year will look like.

All teachers will have these two days before students return to their seats. The first day of class will also look a little different. At Wednesday’s meeting, the district said teachers won’t be rushing into a lesson plan on the first day.

They take this day to assess how their students are doing mentally and emotionally after this traumatic storm.

Rochelle Rezendes, a teacher at Gulf Elementary School, said getting back on schedule means getting back to normal for everyone.

“It’s been about two weeks and we’re looking forward to, you know, getting back to stability? I think a lot of our families need that. I know we all do. You know, it’s nice to be back here today and see everyone together again, just sharing stories and supporting each other,” Resendez said.

The most important thing the district is waiting for in order to reopen additional schools is the results of air quality tests.

Superintendent Bernier said the district is awaiting results from 68 schools.