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Students Back In School For First Time Following Water Crisis

Reported: Jan. 23, 2014 12:43 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 23, 2014 3:35 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Katelyn Sykes) -- It was back to school Thursday for hundreds of kids across Kanawha County.

The ongoing water crisis and winter weather conditions have kept kids out of the classroom for more than a week.

Students and teachers at Piedmont Elementary School in Charleston were excited to head back to the classrooms on Thursday.

Parents such as Tanya Freeman said they are glad to have their kids back in school.

"Michah was like, 'Oh Mommy, I'm so happy to be going back to school,' and Mia was like, 'Finally,' " Freeman said.

Her kids, just like other students at Piedmont, have only been in school for two and a half days since Jan. 2.

"Very difficult," Freeman said. "Especially with my babysitter because I have to constantly pay her and that's the difficult part is when you don't have it."

Jennifer Holzapfel, a parent to twin third-graders, said it is difficult when both parents have to work to be able to deal with seven weeks off.

"That's longer than their summer break," Holzapfel said.

But now parents are breathing a sigh of relief, and the students are dancing for joy to be back in school.

"I feel great," fifth-grade student Foie Russell said.

Russell said he was excited to be back in school and spent his time off "sitting at home being bored."

Fifth grade teacher Kim Landers said the children were estatic.

"They're jumping up and down, waving, 'I've drawn you pictures, I've made you this.' They're very excited," Landers said. "They're waving their hands and can't wait to get in the classroom."

The school had to make special preparations before students could come back including putting water bottles and hand sanitizer in all of the classrooms. The cooks also are using bottled water to prepare students' lunches.

The first lesson for fifth grade students was about the water crisis, and they were asked to write a paragraph about what they went through at home. It was a real life lesson being talked about in the classroom for the first time in days.

"We are just so glad to have the students back in school," said Piedmont Principal Beth Sturgill said. "I think they're so happy to be here to see the teachers. They're happy to see each other and we are ready to go."



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