Class is back in session for students and teachers at flood-affected schools

Published: Aug. 10, 2016 at 5:10 PM EDT
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KANAWHA COUNTY, W. Va. (WSAZ) -- The 2016-2017 school year will be anything but traditional after deadly flooding on June 23 ravaged several schools.

Students at Clendenin, Bridge, Elkview Middle and Herbert Hoover High School kicked off the 2016-17 school year on Wednesday. Four schools sharing just two buildings because of flood caused to Clendenin Elementary and Herbert Hoover High School.

The school year was delayed a few days to allow teachers more time to get their classrooms ready for their students.

Other schools in Kanawha County started on Monday.

The biggest obstacle schools faced on Wednesday was traffic on Route 119.

Some buses arrived after the bell rang at Elkview Middle. One bus driver tells WSAZ his bus was late because he got stuck in traffic near Bridge Elementary.

Another big obstacle was the transition between middle school and high school. Because middle schoolers and high schoolers have to share a building, students go to school for a half day.

"I'm just ready to get back to normal. I'm ready for the portables to be put in so they can do a full day," Tracy Graves, a parent, said.

Elkview Middle schoolers attend school from 7:30 a.m. to noon.

Herbert Hoover High School students attend school from noon to 4:30 p.m.

"We just make the joke that we are going to be the first graduating class of the middle school," said Herbert Hoover senior Ian Evans.

So while middle-schoolers are leaving school, high-schoolers are arriving, causing a lot of confusion and traffic.

"We're going to meet in a little while and talk about how we can do it a little better tomorrow. Traffic flow with drop off and with pick up. Loading the middle-schoolers on the buses. It took us longer than we anticipated but it's the first day," Mike Kelly, Herbert Hoover's principal, said.

Backed-up traffic was also problem at Bridge Elementary, along with crowded classrooms.

Classes are larger this year because students at Clendenin Elementary are also attending Bridge due to flood damage.

One of the largest classrooms has 75 children with three teachers, but the principal says the first day is working out very well.

"We're very excited to start back to school. Just thrilled to have the students here and we want to thank the parents and the community for their support and their kindness and their patience," Bridge Elementary Principal Cynthia Cumming said.

The half days are temporary until modular classrooms arrive, which is expected to happen in September.

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