Q&A With Coral Shores Principal Blake Fry

Fry Says Monday Will be Business as Usual, Transportation Could be an Issue

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Q&A With Coral Shores Principal Blake Fry

Coral Shores Principal Mr. Blake Fry is pictured with his wife, Mary Jo Fry.

Coral Shores Principal Mr. Blake Fry is pictured with his wife, Mary Jo Fry.

Coral Shores Principal Mr. Blake Fry is pictured with his wife, Mary Jo Fry.

Coral Shores Principal Mr. Blake Fry is pictured with his wife, Mary Jo Fry.

Kyla Catarineau, Editor

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Hurricane Watch Editor Kyla Catarineau e-mailed Principal Blake Fry questions in preparation for the school’s reopening on Monday, Sept. 25 after Category 4 Hurricane Irma disrupted school for 13 days. 

Q: How did your family and home do during the storm? Was you’re home damaged? If so, how badly?

A: My family evacuated to our place in Northern Michigan.  Erin my oldest had significant damage, her home is not livable.  My home from what I have seen had some damage, but it is livable and we have electric and water, I will get a better idea when I back in Key Largo.

Q: You mentioned before how you didn’t know if the school would be used for a shelter, what changed that made it one?

A: The school was used as a transfer station before the storm to get those needing assistance help to move to FIU, it was then opened as a shelter of last resort by Emergency Management once the storm approached.  It was later used by national guard, electrical workers from California and Colorado, and by DEA for a place to house their search and rescue personnel.  The site was also a distribution location for food, water, etc.  All this is managed by the EOC, not the school or school district.

Q: How did the school hold up during the storm? If poorly, will it be completely fixed when students get back to school? 

A: The school had some minor water leaks, the courtyard trees were destroyed and are being removed, other than that I do not have any reports of significant damage, we should be ready to open when we get the green light from the Superintendent.

Q: The superintendent announced the hope of reopening Sept. 25, do you see that as a reasonable goal?

A: I think the 25th is a reasonable goal, we all need to get back to a normal routine, there will be significant challenges ahead and we will have to be very flexible with a number of issues, but getting back to work and class is our top priority.

Q: When we go back, how do you foresee our first day or days going? Business as usual? Special assemblies? What will be different?

A: First day(s) we will try to get back to business as usual, I will meet with the entire staff on Friday and discuss what our plans are if we have staff that are not available, but I do not foresee any special modification to the schedule. Transportation will be something that will be a challenge, there are students who may need to use bus stops at other places, we are not sure how many drivers we have yet but we will manage and get through this together.

Q: Have you been in contact with any of our families? How were they effected by Irma?

A:  I have not been in contact with many families, it has been tough getting through to teachers and staff with the lack of service in the Keys, many are without cell or internet and many are still out of the state or in route back to the Keys,so we have kind of networked to get information from staff but I have heard from almost all of our staff and they all are safe.

Q: What else have you heard regarding the students at Coral Shores and their lives/homes?

A: I have had reports of significant damage in a variety of areas up and down the Keys where our students and families live, nothing specific, but this is one of those things we will deal with on a daily basis once we open up.

Q: Do you plan on making the counselors available for students whose lives were greatly affected by the storm?

A: We will provide whatever support necessary to help our students and families, our guidance staff and life skills people will be available and our teachers and administration will also do whatever we can to help.

Q: Do you anticipate our student body shrinking in size as a result? If so, why and by how much?

A: I don’t think the population will diminish in numbers, we may in fact receive additional students from Marathon and south that have become homeless as a result of Irma and may enroll in the Upper Keys.

Q: What other news about the school can you tell us?

A: We are fortunate to live an a unique community, where people have already rallied together to help each other. I am confident we will get past this disaster and make this a great school year.

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