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Nacogdoches ISD's McMichael Middle School flooding forces virtual learning

WEBXTRA: McMichael flooding
WEBXTRA: McMichael flooding
Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 12:08 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - In Nacogdoches, McMichael Middle School sixth graders prep for STAAR testing at home. Not in a classroom. Fans continue to blow through two sixth grade wings at McMichael Middle School.

Even after a week, classrooms are still drying out.

An unfinished roof on a school bond project and torrential rain made for the perfect storm mishap.

“We had three inches of rain in about an hour and half and it flooded the new construction side of our addition to McMichael,” said Ralph La Rue, Nacogdoches ISD’s plant services director.

The rainwater flowed through a door, down the hallways and into 14 classrooms, plus offices.

Custodians discovered the flood just as their work shift was ending.

“They worked all night trying to keep up with the water.”

Dams were constructed to hopefully keep flooding from occurring again.

Meanwhile, the wait begins for repairs.

“So much water got in we actually had to take out drywall so that air could get back into the wall, cut out the wet insulation. It’s just very disruptive and not a safe environment for students,” said LaRue.

So, McMichael sixth graders, once again, are taught online--a method educators say can’t match the results of face-to-face learning. But right now, curriculum specialists and vice-principal Nancy White says virtual learning is the best alternative for students and teachers.

“They’re working at communications with our students thru e-mail on ‘Canvas’. We’re also working on--we have an app in which we can communicate with our parents to let them know what happening and help our students be able to work online.”

Some of the 200-plus students are still not online.

Problems remain on whiteboards. One calculates time spent on a phone and time sleeping. Ralph LaRue has experienced too much of one and not enough of the other.

“It just seems like we can’t get a break. We have not recovered from the big freeze. It’s been a heck of a year. One crisis after another.”

LaRue is hoping to get McMichael sixth graders back to school by Monday, May 17. Sixth graders will return next week, only long enough to take the STAAR test.

The damages are expected to be covered by insurance. Who makes the claim, the school district or the contractor, has not been determined, according to LaRue.

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