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Students ready to return to school in Lee County

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The School District of Lee County announced that 13 schools would open on Monday, and one parent says their kids are ready to go back.

Jessica Wood’s kids go to Gateway Elementary. She has been distributing supplies to families impacted by Hurricane Ian, and her kids have also been a big part of that.

She said explaining why they’re helping other families has been difficult because her kids are so young. Wood said her kids are ready to return to the normalcy of a school day.

“They really, really want to go back to school. They love school. They love their teachers. They miss their friends. And it’s been sad and doom and gloom for the last couple of weeks, you know, that they’ve been really sad. They’ve been really, you know, they’ve been out there serving the community with us, too, a couple of days here and there,” said Wood. “But they’re ready to go back. They’re ready to go back. They’re ready to see their friends and try to get a little bit of normalcy back. And I’m sure a lot of other children are in the same mindset that they just want everything to go back to normal.”

Gateway Elementary is one of the schools opening Wednesday morning. An additional 16 will reopen on Tuesday and 32 on Wednesday. Click here for the list of schools the district said will reopen.

On Sunday, the district is expected to release a list of more schools opening up on Wednesday.

The district has a nine-step process for a school to open. Those steps include reliable power, potable water, air quality, debris cleanup, and the ability to serve food.

Rob Spicker, a spokesperson for Lee County Schools said, “Just like every parent out there, our hope is that we can get those schools cleared to open as soon as possible. Again, the roadblock for many of them is these indoor air quality tests, we determined that that was going to be important that all of our schools at some point during the hurricane lost power. And even if they had the most minor of water intrusion, say one simple leak through a window, we wanted to get in there, test that air, and make sure that when we asked students and staff to come back for seven or eight hours per day that the air was going to be safe to breathe.

Once a school is clear, they will have a teacher reunification day and a family reunification day, and then they will start classes.

Wood said she was lucky enough to have help at home the first week after the storm because they had another family living with them for a bit.

“Going back to normalcy, I think, is going to be the best for the kids right now. I met so many children under 12. And the spirit of these kids who, like I said, they’d lost everything. They’re just they’re still just so bright and so awesome. These kids, my daughters specifically, are ready to go back, and they were not devastated like those kids were, and those kids are ready to go back,” said Wood.

The second week, she put them in a hurricane camp for gymnastics. She said she’d probably keep her kids home on Monday and Tuesday, but they are ready to return.