Southwest Virginia school cleared to open after being damaged by weekend earthquake

Two other schools also damaged

Grayson County school year pushed back over earthquake damage
Grayson County school year pushed back over earthquake damage

INDEPENDENCE, Va. – A southwest Virginia school district is delaying its start, but not because of COVID-19.

Three schools in Grayson County have damage due to Sunday’s 5.1 magnitude earthquake in Sparta, North Carolina.

Exactly what repairs, if any, will eventually be made to the cracks at Independence Elementary School, which received the most damage from the earthquake, had yet to be decided Monday, but thankfully, according to the structural engineer, the school is safe with the cracks as they are.

After careful examination, including notes and cell phone pictures, structural engineer Todd Poff gave the cracks at Independence Elementary School his stamp of approval.

“They are not that severe. There’s a lot of them, so the wall has been weakened somewhat, but not a significant amount,” Poff said as he examined cracks in a wall in the gym.

There are multiple cracks on the walls of the stage in the gym and cracks on the walls in multiple classrooms.

Outside, there are cracks in the bricks on the front and sides of the school but they’re not as concerning as the ones inside.

“The inside of the wall is the structural part. The brick is just a veneer,” Poff explained.