School bells will ring on Monday in Volusia County
As he arrived at Osceola Elementary on Friday morning, Sept. 15, Principal Kevin Flassig’s face broke into a big smile. He hadn’t won the lottery, but the next best thing – his school had power!
It was one step closer to be ready to start school on Monday, Sept. 18, after they were closed for more than a week due to Hurricane Irma.
Flassig said Osceola’s damage was mainly in building 2, and repairs would be completed by the time the morning bell rings on Monday.
“All of the kids will be returning to the same classrooms. The district is working around the clock to have everything ready,” Flassig said. “We want to keep our kids and teachers safe.”
Flassig said that help from the school’s business partners is why they will be able to take care of their “school family,” especially those that may need extra assistance replacing food lost due to power outages.
Over the Granada Bridge, Ormond Beach Elementary, was also gearing up to start back to work. Principal Tucker Harris enjoyed a surprise visit from his daughters and niece, who brought him lunch and hugs.
Harris worked at the special needs shelter at Atlantic High School during the storm, but as soon as he could, he drove to his own school to see how it fared.
“I don’t think we even lost power,” Harris said. “I came to the school the day after and the power was on.”
Harris also said the school’s business partners would be an important aspect to moving forward.
“The district has done a good job providing us with information about trauma and what to look for, and what to do,” Harris said.
Harris, too, refers to the school community as “family.”
“It warms my heart to know that my parents are comfortable enough to come to me,” Harris said. “Many may have lost food because of power failure, and not being paid for a week.”
Harris said the district has not yet said when, or if, the days missed would be made up. Since the storm affected all 47 counties in the state, Gov. Rick Scott will probably issue a decision to encompass every school district.
Harris said the main focus for the teachers and administrators was to get the students back into a routine.
“School, for a lot of kids and families, is a stable place in their lives that they can count on,” Harris said. “Things happen. We will get through this together, back on track, and move forward.”