Repairs continue for Central Texas schools affected by winter storm

Air drying systems, not students, filled hallways Tuesday at several Leander ISD schools.

"It’s been substantial," said Leander ISD spokesperson Matt Mitchell.

FOX 7 was provided video of some of the damage. The schools with the most damage include; Mason and Giddens elementary schools, as well as Steiner Ranch and Running Brushy middle schools

"We’ve seen pipes burst, we've seen carpets ruined, we've seen whole rooms flooded, we have seen a lot of personal equipment, both from a teacher and a student stand point, that needs to be replaced," said Mitchell.

Well before the thaw, Mitchells said, containment efforts got underway.

"It was treacherous just for us to get staff and support staff and physical plant personnel out there to assess the damage, shut off the water, do some kind of damage control," said Mitchell.

In Burnet, local fire departments came to the rescue after broken pipes flooded the auditorium at the high school. The water in some spots was 4 feet deep.

A common cause for the damage; sprinkler systems that froze. That’s what happened at Deer Park Middle School the campus is closed until March 2. It’s one of 4 Round Rock ISD campuses that has shifted to all on line classes. Robertson elementary will also be closed until March 2, but England and Brushy Creek will reopen campuses on Thursday.

Monday during a senate finance committee hearing Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath said the agency is still working on a response plan.

"There are large numbers of school districts that have buildings that have significant facility damage issued due to broken pipes, we don’t have even preliminary answer on that for you, we should have a survey out and results back from the filed in about a month to get a broad sense of facility assessment," said Morath.



TEA has issued advisories to districts regarding funding concerns. Attendance waivers are being allowed. So if districts couldn’t open schools last week or can’t open this week due to the storm they will be covered.

If remote learning is the only option - state officials say districts will not have to make up any time. Documenting repairs costs is urged because federal reimbursement may become available. Until then schools continue to dry out and local support campaigns are being launched to help replace what was lost.

"What we are asking people to do is, to go to our website, we have a link there, to the Leander Excellence Foundation, they are collecting funds to disperse among the schools and really pinpoint where those funds are needed the most," said Mitchell.

Leander and Round Rock ISD are providing curbside meals at some of their schools.  Austin ISD did not provide a damage assessment to FOX 7. According to its most recent statement, the district will be at 100 percent remote instruction on Wednesday and Thursday. Full in-class learning will not resume for AISD until March 1.