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Orrick students return to class nearly three weeks after fire

Cancellations could extend school year
Posted: 6:50 PM, Apr 15, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-15 23:50:45Z
Orrick school
Orrick school damage
Orrick water tower

ORRICK, Mo. — Orrick School District students and staff returned to school on Monday after nearly three weeks of cancellations following a fire.

The fire on March 27 burned parts of the roof in the elementary section of the school and led to evacuations and damage. Weeks later, the roof is still being repaired.

However, the return to class on Monday was welcomed by the community.

“A lot of the kids had smiles on their faces,” Superintendent Scott Archibald said. “The teachers and everybody else are excited to be back.”

For parents, the days of cancellations led to some changes at home.

Sari Darnell, who lives across the street from the school, said the days off led to spending extra time with her two children or needing to find help to take care of them.

“For working parents, you had to get babysitting last minute and make sure you had someone taking care of your kids during the day,” she said. “I’ve been keeping them busy. We’ve been going swimming in Excelsior Springs and doing some other things. They’ve been pretty excited to be off.”

Following the school cancellations from the fire, the impact to the school calendar remains unknown.

The high school graduation is still slated to be held in May; however, class could be extended into the summer to make up for lost time.

Aside from the nearly three weeks of missed classes from the fire, the school district also dealt with 12 snow days this past winter.

Archibald told 41 Action News that teachers planned to take a special approach in the classroom to try and finish the school year on time.

“It’s really about the essential things that they need before they move into the next grade,” he said. “That’s what our focus is going to be about.”

Archibald has asked the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for forgiveness of the days missed because of the fire.

With the school district still waiting for a decision from the state, the superintendent expected staff and students to keep working hard through a tough year.

“Nobody was expecting anything like this,” he said. “It was just a thing that happened and we will all just move forward. It’s all about taking one day at a time and processing what’s the next step.”

Archibald expects to hear back from state education leaders this week.

As of Monday, the Orrick R-XI School District planned to hold its last day of school on June 5.

The cause of the fire in March still remains unknown, but Archibald told 41 Action News that he believed it was accidental.