Eastern Kentucky districts delay start of school year after flooding

Perry Co

PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – It’s supposed to be back-to-school time for students across the state — but many schools in eastern Kentucky won’t be starting back as normal.

District leaders in some of the hardest hit flooded areas are pushing back the start of their school year as they continue to assess the damage.

That includes here at Buckhorn School in Perry County.

“The elementary side sustained more damage than the high school side. We have a lot of debris, mud water, still in there,” said Buckhorn Principal Tim Wooton.

Wooton says students were supposed to come back on Thursday, Aug. 11. School leaders have now decided to delay until Aug. 29.

“The district is offering a virtual learning right now. We’re still making plans with how that’s going to roll out. Currently, it’s available for students in grades 6-12. It’s a process a like everything else, getting back on our feet,” said Wooton.

The school district is also offering a plan to house students in a temporary location while the assessments continue.

“Kids will be able to be with their teachers, school staff that they’re familiar with, their classmates. So Buckhorn from that standpoint and our students will be taken care of. We’re going to be okay,” said Wooton.

Wooton says engineers and adjusters have been on site looking at the damage.

He says it’s expected to take a year before students will be back in Buckhorn.

Other school districts are pushing back their school year. Owsley County schools won’t start back until Aug. 17. Knott County schools are also delaying their school year until Sept. 19.

In Perry County, across the street from the school, a donation distribution site and volunteer center continue in the children’s gymnasium.

“People are coming from all over the united states, bringing us supplies. And then from here, we distribute them out to the roads where people can’t get in,” said Marlene Stokely, who is the campus director of the children’s center.

She says the center will remain open for as long as the community needs it.

As the cleanup continues, some are encouraging patience on their road to recovery.

“Have faith in the school system they will get our school repaired and we will have our kids back at Buckhorn next year,” said Stokely.

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