After summer floods, Shawnee schools open
Shawnee School District No. 84 held a Meet the Teacher event in preparation for the 2019-2020 academic year on Wednesday, Aug. 14.
Students got the opportunity to meet their teachers, collect their books and find their lockers.
The night also featured door prizes, school supplies, refreshments, photo stations and other activities.
The school year was set to begin in two days, with a half-day session scheduled for Friday, Aug. 16.
This all took place less than a month after the reopening of Illinois Routes 146 and 3.
The closing of these roads marked a high point in the summer’s sustained flooding that caused widespread damage across the region.
The Shawnee School District is no stranger to flooding events, with several disastrous floods affecting the district over the past decade.
However, despite the summer’s surge, school and students alike were ready for the school year to begin.
“We were really worried about a month ago, when the road to McClure was closed, because all of that is part of our school district.” said Shawnee School District superintendent Shelly Clover-Hill.
“But once the water started to go down, we’d see roads opening back up every couple of days.”
Over the past three weeks, representatives from the school have been checking the condition of the routes in their district.
By the night of the Meet the Teacher event, all but three routes had been reopened. Alternate bus stops have been set up for the students along those routes.
In addition, enrollment numbers have also remained largely unaffected by the flooding.
“We were worried that we would lose enrollment because we had so many displaced families,” said Clover-Hill.
“But we’ve been fortunate and it’s been less than five students not returning, with all the rest coming back, which we’ve been very thankful for.”
Clover-Hill said that enrollment numbers are actually up this year, with new enrollees outnumbering the students leaving the district over the summer.
The floodwaters are receding and cleanup efforts have begun, but the region is still far from back to normal.
Some roads are still under water and many families have been displaced. But the start of the school year can bring some stability to the lives of students.
“Some students still aren’t home yet. They are either living with family members, or staying somewhere else,” says Clover-Hill, “but we are looking forward to seeing them all at the start of school on Friday.”