Vermont Schools Re-Open Following Floods

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(Host) All of Vermont’s schools have re-opened in the aftermath of Irene.

But as VPR’s Ric Cengeri reports, some schools have had to find novel ways to conduct classes or help students readjust after the effects of the storm.

(Cengeri) At Moretown Elementary School, flood waters from the Mad River poured into the building’s septic tanks and backed up into the school.

Forced out of their building, Moretown students went on field trips last week to the Montshire Museum, Shelburne Farms and Craftsbury Outdoor Camp. And when the school didn’t pass ecological tests, tents were set up on recreation fields where classes are now being held.

Duane Pierson is Principal at Moretown Elementary, where he’s currently working out of a pop-up camper:

(Pierson) "I’m really hoping by next Monday we’re going to be ready to go. We’ll be in our building, in our classrooms and back to some normalcy here in Moretown." 

(Cengeri) At Leland & Gray Middle and High School in Townshend, administrators decided to provide free hot breakfasts to students through this Friday. School Principal Dorinne [door IN] Dorfman says they may even extend the meal plan.

(Dorfman) "At this point, we’ll easily be able to go into October and I will discuss with my leadership team the possibility of serving lunch as well." 

(Cengeri) The buildings at Leland & Gray were’nt damaged by flooding, but bus routes have been re-drawn because of the many washed out roads in the surrounding towns.

In Chittenden, 33 students from Mendon and Pittsfield who attend Barstow Elementary School have been hiking on a forest path to get to school. Community members have mulched the path and provide refreshments for the students. They’ve also stepped up in other ways.

Barstow Principal Karen Prescott:

(Prescott) "Families have been taking in other families. We have teachers that live quite a distance, where strangers are offering their homes so people don’t have to travel hours and hours to get to work." 

(Cengeri) Rochester School has prepared its teachers to work with students who have been affected by the storm. Mary Sue Crowley is Principal of the Pre-K-to 12th Grade school.

(Crowley) "We met with mental health counselors and really worked on what we want to say to kids. How we introduce it. What we’re going to do to help them if they need someone to talk to."

(Cengeri) In an effort to start looking forward, students’ reflections of the flooding will be collected for a book and become a play that will be staged this spring.

For VPR News, I’m Ric Cengeri.

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