Schools plan to reopen after deadly storms

Storms destroyed school buildings, disrupting the rest of the school year in many cases.
The storms that chugged across the South last week killed at least 44 people in six states, destroying school buildings and leaving residents to wonder when, exactly, they would return to their daily routines.

Ultimately, this deadliest swarm of twisters in three years, which battered up to 15 states, could turn out to be among the top 10 three-day outbreaks for number of tornadoes, though experts can’t be sure until all the reports are sorted, said Greg Carbin of the federal Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.

Students in the tornado-ravaged southeastern Oklahoma town of Tushka won’t be back in class until April 25 as officials scramble to find teaching space after the storm nearly wiped out the town’s only school, the local high school principal said on April 18.

“This has been a state of complete chaos, so I hate to say anything is concrete,” Principal Matt Simpson said. “But we do have plans. The long-term plan is we’re going to rebuild the school.”

Tentative plans call for students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade to attend classes in local church buildings, while the district’s high school students likely will attend classes and take end-of-instruction tests at the Kiamichi Technology Center campus in nearby Atoka, he said.

Because the district’s 481 students will be out of classes for six days before school resumes, the last day of school, now scheduled for May 20, will likely be pushed back, Simpson said.

The tornado, the most powerful of at least 21 twisters that hit the state late on April 14 and early April 15, killed two people, injured at least 43 others, and destroyed 149 homes and businesses, many along the town’s two main streets.

The school–a collection of buildings housing grades K-12–was all but gone.

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