HENRYVILLE, Ind. – The state Department of Education has decided that students whose southern Indiana school was wrecked by a tornado last month won’t have to make up their missed school days.
The state waiver from the 180-day school requirement comes after Henryville’s elementary students missed 12 days and Henryville High School missed 15 days before their classes resumed at temporary locations while their school complex is repaired.
Education Department spokesman Alex Damron told the News and Tribune for a story Friday that it was only fair to grant the Henryville waiver because of the extreme circumstances of the March 2 tornadoes.
“There are common-sense exemptions for extreme situations, and the events at Henryville certainly warrant those exemptions,” Damron said. “Our department has always tried to give schools the support and flexibility they need.”
The storm caused widespread damage in Henryville, Marysville and other nearby communities in the area just north of Louisville, Ky., and killed 13 people in southern Indiana.
Henryville High School Principal Troy Albert said although students might miss out on some of their regular curriculum, he thought they still learned a great deal before they returned to classes April 2 at a Scottsburg business complex.
“I think the weeks we were out were life lessons we couldn’t have taught any other way,” Albert said. “I think sometimes you learn just as much without a textbook or classroom setting. Helping others was a big priority in everyone’s mind, and hopefully that will persist.”
The 1,200-student West Clark district is still waiting to know whether students will have to take the ISTEP statewide exam that they missed after the tornado, Superintendent Monty Schneider said.
Overall, Riggs said he thought the work of the district’s teachers and administrators had paid off.
“Nobody was off work from the standpoint of employees,” Riggs said.