TUPELO – Many students in Tupelo and Lee County will return to class today, but not all of them will.
The Tupelo School District resumed normal operations at all schools except Joyner Elementary, which received the most significant damage in the district. Joyner will reopen for first- and second-graders on Monday. Kindergartners from Joyner will report to Church Street School for the remainder of the year, also beginning on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Lee County School District reopened classes in Mooreville and in the southern end of the county. Schools in Saltillo and Guntown remain closed because of power outages.
Tupelo Christian Preparatory School is closed today, so students can serve the city in its recovery, Headmaster Brian Benscoter said. It will reopen on Thursday.
Tupelo Superintendent Gearl Loden said the district would be especially focused “on the human side” in the upcoming days and weeks. He said anyone who couldn’t get to school because of the tornado – those who are displaced, whose homes are damaged, who lost power or who are helping family or friends rebuild – will be given an excused absence with a note from parents.
“Our goal is to get back in a normal routine as soon as possible and part of that is opening school back, but we know it will be spotty for a few days,” Loden said.
Joyner had extensive roof damage, which also led to water damage, particularly on the kindergarten wing. Loden said Carver Elementary and the Early Childhood Education Center had very minor damage.
Lee County Superintendent Jimmy Weeks also said students would be given an excused absence if impacted by tornado damage.