Springdale elementary school back to class after tornado
SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KAIT) - School was back in session for Springdale students Thursday after an EF-3 tornado damaged the George Elementary gym and playground.
Content partner KNWA said there were hugs all around in the hallways as students and teachers were still processing the damage to their school.
A person told KNWA that was used to be their gym looked like “a warzone.”
School counselor Erika Fuentes said the quick return was necessary, because “school is a safe and happy place for many.”
“It feels like a lot of things changed overnight,” she said. “And if we can provide some sense of normalcy in some routine that they’re accustomed to, they’re gonna adjust so much better that way.”
Fuentes said the move is helpful for parents still looking at the damage to their homes, as they want their kids to have a safe place to go to during the day.
Principal Justin Swope told KNWA they brought in engineers and the fire department to ensure the building with all the classrooms was safe.
Both Swope and Fuentes said the day was filled with emotion.
“It was great to see smiling faces,” Swope said. “They’re obviously probably still shocked and just processing what they went through yesterday.”
Fuentes said they saw tears of sadness and joy as students were able to see their friends back at school.
As students get used to having a recess in the classroom or no PE class, Fuentes said being open about their emotions for the coming week will be crucial.
Swope told KNWA they don’t expect the gym to be rebuilt this year, but they will be looking into other ways for kids to blow off steam, like moving PE and recess into the cafeteria or nearby outdoor spaces.
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