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Western Kentucky school districts impacted by tornado announce reopening plans

Mayfield High School.
Liam Niemeyer
Mayfield High School.

While most school systems in western Kentucky will be returning from winter break on schedule to start their spring semester, other districts are delaying instruction to give school faculty transition time from helping with tornado disaster relief.

For schools in districts like Lyon County and Caldwell County, the tornado’s aftermath did not leave them in a position that caused a need to delay resuming instructions. Students are still expected to return for their next semester on Jan. 3 in both counties.

Marshall County Schools is in a similar situation. However, schools in the district will be closed for an extra day in January due to a pre-scheduled Educator Learning day. Marshall County students are scheduled to return on Jan. 4.

Mayfield Independent Schools plans to return to the classes later than originally scheduled from the start of the year. Due to the district being in one of the most hard-hit areas by the tornado, the start of the spring semester is being pushed back to Monday, Jan. 10, according to an announcement from the Mayfield Independent Schools Superintendent Joe Henderson.

Mayfield Independent Schools had used its high school as a shelter and distribution center for their community in recent weeks. Teachers and faculty at the district will return to the building on Jan. 3 to spend the week preparing the building for students' return.

According to a release, Mayfield Independent Schools will still be providing mental health services as needed. For those interested in those services, the school system encourages calling the district office for more information.

The school district is also working to develop bus transportation for those still residing in Mayfield and Graves County and for families who have been displaced and are currently outside of the district boundaries. The district asks parents and guardians to be patient as ongoing debris clean-up and repair efforts may affect bus route times.

Hopkins County Schools and Dawson Independent Schools are teaming up to bring kids back into the classroom.

Hopkins County Schools plans to be back in session Monday, Jan. 3. Dawson Springs Independent Schools, in a community particularly hit hard by the tornado, plans to have students back in schools on Jan. 18.

The superintendents from both districts in a release announced any student in Hopkins County who cannot return to their home school may attend a Hopkins County School to meet their situation. Also, any Hopkins County student who needs to relocate to a new school due to hardship is eligible to transfer as well.

“Both districts are here to help students who need resources,” said Hopkins County Superintendent Amy Smith, in a statement. “I am proud to partner with our neighbors in Dawson Springs so that we can serve as many students and families together who need support during this unprecedented disaster.”

Dawson Springs School Board Chair Vicki Allen said helping the community will not stop after classes resume.

“Within minutes of the tornado, our high school was turned almost instantaneously into a triage and relief center for our community,” Allen said in a statement. “As we scale back relief center operations and prepare for students to return to school, please rest assured that we will still be here for our community.”

Students in Hopkins County who need either resources or wish to consider a different in-class option than their home school are asked to fill out an online form. Dawson Springs is also asking families in their district to fill out a post-disaster survey to check in with the district.

According to the release, any additional questions regarding school-based resources for students are being directed to either the Hopkins County Schools Director of Pupil Personnel or the Dawson Springs Independent Schools Director of Pupil Personnel.

Correction: This article previously stated Hopkins County Schools' start date was Jan. 18. It is Jan. 3.

Zacharie Lamb is a music major at Murray State University and is a Graves County native.
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