CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ron Duerring didn’t rule out the possibility that all county schools could open on time for the coming school year, despite historic flooding last month.
Herbert Hoover High School, Clendenin Elementary and Elkview Middle School all sustained severe damage. Duerring said at the KSB’s Monday meeting that it’s still hard to make a ruling for sure on when each school would open.
“We’re continuing to work on the cleanup in the Elkview area. Some of it’s moving a little faster than others,” he said. “It’s hard to make any comments because FEMA still has to go in and do their assessments. We’re still working every day to restore as much as we can.”
Duerring said nothing could be salvaged from the first floor of Herbert Hoover, which was covered in mud. He expressed hope the school could open on time, but said there are some plans in place if it cannot.
“One of the contingency plans in place is to go to Elkview Middle and have some portables there to do a split schedule,” he explained. “It could be that we would have a whole portable school there. But our goal is no matter what we do, is that we keep the kids together and in the area.”
A return to normalcy and a sense of community is important in the wake of the flooding, Duerring said.
“I just think that’s really important that we get them back in a normal situation where they know their teachers care about them, and a sense of community, a sense of rebuilding their community and that the parents know that’s our ultimate goal.”
Duerring said many had been generous in their donations to Kanawha County Schools, and at Monday’s meeting Fred Albert, the president of AFT-Kanawha and treasurer of AFT West Virginia announced a $12,000 donation to teachers for them to replace supplies for their classrooms.
“We felt that one of the best ways that we could help out would be to give to the professionals and the service personnel in each building,” Albert said. “A monetary gift that they could personally use to replace some of their resources they lost during the flood.”
Cleaning up and repairing the schools will cost the district, but Duerring said FEMA should reimburse most of the money.
“Where we have flood insurance that will help. We can get up to 75 percent reimbursement from FEMA. It’s worth it; we need to care of our kids; we need them back in school.”
Once it’s safe to enter the school buildings, Duerring said the KCSB would announce that volunteers are needed to help with the cleanup effort.