THE LIST: Closings and cancellations for Thursday

VIDEO: School districts announce schedule changes ahead of Thursday's severe weather threat

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - With an increased chance for severe weather Thursday for the Lowcountry, school districts, colleges and universities are beginning to announce schedule changes.

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Lowcountry school districts:

  • Beaufort County School District: Beaufort County elementary schools will be dismissing at 11:45 a.m. and middle and high schools at 12:45 p.m. on Thursday. All afterschool activities are cancelled. District buildings will be cleared and shut down by 1:30 p.m.
  • Berkeley County School District: Due to the potential for severe weather, all Berkeley County School District (BCSD) schools will follow the half-day dismissal bell schedule tomorrow, Thursday, March 18, with elementary and middle school traditional pathway students learning in-person on school campuses. All high school students will participate in blended distance learning from home following the half-day dismissal bell schedule. Additionally, all after school activities, including after care programs, are canceled for Thursday, March 18.
  • Charleston County School District: Due to the forecast for severe storms in the area tomorrow afternoon, all Charleston County School District schools will release three hours early. In addition, all after-school activities and programs, including Kaleidoscope, are canceled Thursday. For students learning virtually, your instructional day will end three hours early to allow teachers and faculty to leave school early and get home safely.
  • Colleton County School District: Students are already on eLearning because of scheduled teacher vaccinations.
  • Dorchester District 2: Dorchester School District Two will follow an early dismissal schedule for all students: elementary schools will dismiss at 10:30 a.m.; middle schools at 11:30 a.m.; and high schools, GAP and Rollings Middle School of the Arts at 12:30 p.m. Extended day services will be open until 1:30 p.m. All extracurricular and after-school activities are canceled on Thursday. All families and staff are encouraged to be cautious and stay safe during this weather situation.
  • Dorchester District 4: The district will have a half-day for students Thursday. DD4 spokesperson Val Anderson said all after-school activities are also canceled Thursday. Schools will dismiss early at the following times:
    • 11:30 a.m.: Williams Memorial Elementary, Harleyville Elementary, Clay Hill Elementary
    • Noon: Harleyville-Ridgeville Middle, Woodland High
    • 12:15 p.m.: St George Middle School
  • Georgetown County School District: Georgetown County School District will have an eLearning Day on Thursday. All school district facilities will be closed Thursday. District officials will post assignments Thursday for students to complete and submit by March 26. Once these assignments are submitted, students will be marked “present” for the eLearning day. Failure to complete and submit assignments by March 26 will result in the student being marked “absent” for the eLearning Day. Friday will remain a scheduled Staff Development Day in GCSD. Normal operations for students will resume on Monday.
  • Orangeburg County School District: Students will do eLearning at home Thursday as previously scheduled. Orangeburg County School employees will work remotely Thursday. All district schools and officers will be closed, but teachers and staff will carry out their duties remotely and work from home. The district-wide closure includes the cancellation of all athletics, extracurricular and any other activities scheduled for Thursday.
  • Williamsburg County School District: The district will hold an eLearning day on Thursday.
  • First Baptist School of Charleston: First Baptist School of Charleston will have early dismissal on Thursday, March 18, 2021, due to predicted inclement weather. The James Island Campus will dismiss at 12 noon and the downtown campus will dismiss at 12:10. Aftercare and all after-school activities are canceled.

Lowcountry colleges and universities:

  • Charleston Cosmetology Institute: Charleston Cosmetology Institute is closing at Noon Thursday.
  • Charleston Southern University: In anticipation of severe weather Thursday, Charleston Southern University will close campus at noon and shift all afternoon and evening classes to online learning. All on-campus, in-person events are cancelled. Dining services will remain available for residents.
  • The Citadel: The Citadel campus closes at 1 p.m. and all classes after 1 p.m. are canceled. Dining services for cadets to be provided as normal. Normal operations are expected to resume Friday.
  • College of Charleston: The college will close early on Thursday. All classes, activities, events and meetings scheduled after 1 p.m. are cancelled. This includes in-person, virtual and hybrid classes and laboratories.
  • Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College: All classes and virtual activities are canceled and the campus will be closed Thursday. Regular operating hours will resume Friday.
  • Trident Technical College: Trident Technical College will move to e-learning and e-services starting at noon on Thursday. All college campuses/sites will close at noon on Thursday. The college plans to hold Friday classes at their regularly scheduled times. College offices will reopen at 9 a.m. on Friday.

Lowcountry government agencies, attractions, businesses and services:

  • Beaufort County Government: All Beaufort County offices and facilities will close at noon.
  • Boone Hall Plantation: Boone Hall Plantation will close at 2 p.m. All unused tickets for today will be honored any other day ticket holders choose to visit
  • Charleston City Government: City of Charleston offices, including recreation facilities and the municipal court, will close at 2 p.m. The early release does not apply to public safety employees or other personnel needed to provide essential City services.
  • Charleston County Government: Due to the potential for inclement weather, Charleston County Government offices will close at 1 p.m. on Thursday. Any traffic court hearings scheduled after 1 p.m. will be rescheduled. This includes the downtown Judicial Center Complex.
    • The Bees Ferry Landfill and Convenience Centers will close at 1 p.m. Recycling will occur as scheduled and recycling crews will make every attempt to complete scheduled routes; anything not serviced Thursday will be completed Friday. Residents are asked to secure their carts before the anticipated weather arrives.
    • Council Committee meetings originally scheduled for Thursday are rescheduled for next week. There will only be one bond court session on Thursday at 10 a.m. Council Committee meetings originally scheduled for Thursday are rescheduled for next week:
      • Planning and Public Works Committee will be held Tuesday at 5 p.m. The Finance Committee will meet Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
      • County Council will meet March 25 at 5 p.m.
  • Charleston County Parks: All Charleston County parks will close at 1 p.m. The Campground at James Island County Park will remain open to registered guests.
  • Dorchester County: All Dorchester County Administrative Offices, Courts, and Convenience Sites will close at noon Thursday. The Board of Elections and Voter Registration Meeting scheduled for 4:45 p.m. has been canceled and will be rescheduled at a later date. All Dorchester County Public Safety Departments, Public Works, and Water and Sewer Department are making the necessary preparations to respond as needed.
  • Goose Creek: All City of Goose Creek offices and facilities will close at 1 p.m. This includes City Hall, Recreation, Municipal Court and Department of Public Works facilities and offices. City Fire and Police services will continue to operate as always.
    • The City’s Crowfield Golf Club golf course and driving range will close at 2 p.m. Thursday; the golf club bar & grill will remain open from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. All City offices will reopen on Friday for normal hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
    • Thursday’s Food at the Fountain food truck lunch has been canceled.
  • Mount Pleasant Waterworks: Mount Pleasant Waterworks will close its operation center at 2 p.m. The center will reopen at 9 a.m. Friday.
  • North Charleston: In anticipation of inclement weather, city offices will close Thursday at 1pm. Thursday’s public meetings will be rescheduled to Monday at 5pm.
  • The South Carolina Aquarium: The Aquarium will close at 2 p.m., with the last ticket reservation sold for 1 p.m. The Aquarium expects to reopen with normal hours on Friday.
  • Summerville: All Summerville Town facilities will close at 12 p.m., noon, on Thursday. The closure includes town buildings, parks, and athletic fields. The regularly scheduled March Design Review Board meeting has been postponed to a later date to be determined. Municipal Court operations will proceed as scheduled Thursday morning. Collection services with Carolina Waste are scheduled to begin at 6 a.m. Thursday and expected to be completed by 2 p.m. Possible changes will be posted to the Town website.
  • Wells Fargo: Wells Fargo will close its branches in Charleston and surrounding areas early.
  • Williamsburg County Transit System: Williamsburg County transit officials will adjust their operating schedule because of the severe weather threat Thursday:
    • Medicaid routes will start at 5 a.m. and end at 10 a.m. Service will resume Friday morning.
    • All beach routes will be canceled Thursday and will resume Friday.
    • All Paid Demand Response routes will be canceled and user dollars will be put toward their next trip.
    • All service providers are being notified by WCTS of the changes.

COVID vaccine clinics

  • Bluffton: A previously scheduled vaccination clinic hosted by Beaufort Memorial Hospital at the Bluffton Early Childhood Center will be rescheduled for next week.
  • Williamsburg County: People with appointments at the Williamsburg County E-911 Recovery Center on Thursday are asked to come to the Recovery Center on Friday to be vaccinated. Their original appointment time will be honored at the clinic on Friday.

Much of South Carolina under strong risk for storms, possible tornadoes

Most of the state is under an “enhanced” risk for severe weather as a storm system already blamed for tornadoes and severe weather makes its way toward South Carolina.

The timetable for the strongest risk will be Thursday afternoon.

On a five-point scale, “enhanced” represents a “three” out of “five,” with five being the highest risk. But portions of the Lowcountry, including much of Georgetown and a portion of Williamsburg County, remain under a moderate risk, a “four” on that five-point scale.

The biggest effects expected are strong thunderstorms and potentially-damaging winds. Large hail and isolated tornadoes are also possible.

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