While the electricity is still off for thousands around the Ozarks, the heat is on the
Heavy equipment chatters outside of school doors, instead of school children. Tree trimming crews direct traffic in place of crossing guards.
“It's extremely dangerous around here,” said R-12 supervisor Ellen Seipp.
The crew's assignment is to make the school safe once again.
“This is very overwhelming and we're just taking it one step at a time,” said Seipp.
And it’s not just at Campbell Elementary.
“We have 61 sites and all have some degree of damage,” added Seipp.
The damage spreads inside school doors, too. Schools have to feed students, but right now the district’s only feeding it’s garbage disposals spoiled food. The district lost school supplies in all but 13 schools.
“We're really careful about putting food back into our sites because there's a fear it might go out again,” said R-12 superintendent Norm Ridder of his concerns of the power going off again at school sites.
It takes two days to replenish the kitchens and that’s not the only deadline looming. The school bell’s about to ring on the workers cleaning up the storm’s mess outside R-12 buildings.
“Even though we're getting a safe entry point, we haven't gotten school grounds safe for traveling and walking around,” said Seipp.
And that has to be done by Tuesday when students, not tree trimmers will be beating down a path to the schools’ doors.
If some school buildings still aren't ready by Tuesday, the district is considering holding some classes in local churches. Leaders will meet Friday afternoon to discuss that possibility.
The district is going to apply for FEMA and state funding to pay for the cleanup and it's hoping insurance will cover most of the lost food which will probably reach into the tens of thousands of dollars. However, it might have to go to the Board to dip into its reserves to pay for the cleanup.
As of Thursday, ten Springfield school buildings still had no power or heat.