Kanawha County first in W.Va. to start new school year

By Carrie Hodousek in News
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The first day of school in West Virginia begins in Kanawha County Monday where special arrangements are in place for Clendenin Elementary and Herbert Hoover High School following the June flood.

“It’s not the ideal situation, but it is what we have,” said Hoover Principal Mike Kelley about the aftermath of the flood-damaged Hoover and Clendenin school buildings.

Students and staff from Clendenin Elementary will attend Bridge Elementary on a split schedule. Hoover will be housed on a split schedule at Elkview Middle School. Both schools will operate that way until portable classrooms are built.

Bridge Elementary and Elkview Middle school officials announced Saturday that those schools would open on Wednesday, two days later than the rest of the county.

Kelley said their top priority is to identify students that need help, whether it be with clothes, food or for counseling services related to emotional issues from the disaster.

“We know that early on it’s going to take some time for them to acclimate to a new setting,” Kelley said. “We’re going to try to get them all the resources that they need to try and deal with this issue.”

According to county assessments, Hoover was 70 percent damage and Clendenin was almost completely washed away with 97 percent damage. The Kanawha County Board of Education announced last week that both schools will need to be rebuilt.

A lot of families have expressed heartbreak about the demolition of the Hoover building, but Kelley said standing strong as a community is key for moving forward.

“Herbert Hoover is not that building,” he said. “Where ever our kids are, that’s where Herbert Hoover is and so that’s going to be here at Elkview for a while.”

Teachers told MetroNews last week they want to approach their lessons in a more sensitive manner due to all the devastation the town has seen in the last six weeks.

Kelley said they are putting students’ needs first, but also have high expectations like they do every school year.

“They know that we’re going to expect them to show up for school, to go in and work hard and do their best and to achieve at a high level,” he said.

But when all is said and done, Kelley said he’s confident Hoover will get back on its feet because citizens are behind them.

“To see people who have lost so much in their personal lives and still come out and be so supportive of our school and our children — I have no doubt that we’ll be back,” he said.

Kanawha is the first county in West Virginia to begin the 2016-2017 school year. Mineral County is the last county scheduled to return to class Aug. 26.

Here is a list of beginning school dates by county:

August 8
Kanawha

August 10
Braxton, Mercer, Wirt

August 11
Cabell
Jackson
Mingo
Pleasants
Preston
Raleigh
Ritchie
Roane
Tucker
Tyler
Wood

August 12
Calhoun

Aug. 15
Barbour
Boone
Fayette
Gilmer
Lewis
Marshall
Monroe
Ohio
Pocahontas
Randolph
Summers
Upshur
Wyoming

August 16
Doddridge
Harrison
Taylor

August 17
Lincoln
Putnam
Wayne

August 18
Brooke
Clay
Grant
Hampshire
Hardy
Jefferson
Logan
Mason
McDowell
Monongalia
Pendleton
Webster

August 19
Nicholas

August 22
Berkeley
Greenbrier
Morgan
Wetzel

August 24
Marion

August 25
Hancock

August 26
Mineral