River Ridge Middle and River Ridge High schools remain on modified schedule

Smoke from the nearby Starkey Wilderness Park wildfire continues to be a concern

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) — River Ridge Middle and River Ridge High schools will remain on a modified schedule on Monday, school officials said on Sunday.  The district adjusted start and release times last week due to heavy smoke from the massive brush fire in Starkey Wilderness Park.  The fire has consumed more than 2,200 acres and is now 80 percent contained, according to the Florida Forest Service.

The district met with Pasco County Emergency Management officials on Friday and decided to start late on Monday.

The rains over the weekend helped crews fight the fire, but the FFS anticipates smoke will be an issue for some time.

Linda Cobbe, a spokeswoman for the Pasco County School District says the modified scheduled will be revisited first thing on Monday morning.   “At 8:30 am, we’ll have a conference call with the EOC about what happened over the weekend,” said Cobbe.  “There is an additional fire, whether that’s affecting the school at all. ”

Kurt Browning, the Superintendent of Schools, is hopeful conditions will continue to improve.  “We hope we will be able to resume the regular schedule beginning on Tuesday,”  said Browning.  “But the weather forecast will dictate what we do moving forward.”

River Ridge High School and middle school  have operated on a 10:45 a.m. to 5:10 p.m. schedule since Tuesday.  The schools were forced to close Monday when heavy smoke from the Starkey Park wildfire entered classrooms that morning.

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