Gautier Middle School students return to school after severe weather damages building

Straight-line winds caused a broken skylight window, a fallen tree, torn roof, and collapsed ceilings in two classrooms.
Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 2:53 PM CDT
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GAUTIER, Miss. (WLOX) - Gautier Middle School students returned to the school for the first time after Saturday’s storm caused damage.

According to Principal Christy Reimsnyder, when she walked in to assess the damage in the library, she didn’t think she would find much more.

“What looked like minor damage in the library increased as we verified each classroom, and we were just very thankful and grateful that this did not occur when we had our students here,” Reimsnyder said.

Straight-line winds caused a broken skylight window, a fallen tree, torn roof, and collapsed ceilings in two classrooms. Some of those classrooms are used as tornado shelters during drills.

“As a result of looking at the damage, we are going to have to go back and reassess our procedure for tornado drills because some of the classrooms that were damaged are what we call enclosed classrooms,” Reimnyder said.” “That’s where we do have our students stay put for tornado drill, so we are going to have to go back and reassess where we are going to put our students to ensure they’re safe as a result, if it’s a real thing.”

Superintendent Billy Ellzey arrived early to help guide students to their classrooms. Crews also arrived before sunrise to continue working on the damage. They also put barriers up to prevent students from getting hurt.

“We are just going to reroute our students to go up and around certain areas. It’s going to take them a little longer to travel, but I think with the support of my faculty and staff, they’ll be OK,” Reimsnyder said.

Reimsnyder hopes to get everything back to normal by next Monday.

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