Harlan County schools reopening after a week of repairs

By: Eric Eckstrom Email
By: Eric Eckstrom Email

Students with the Harlan County School District will be back in class Monday for the first time since Christmas Vacation. Classes were supposed to resume last Monday, but multiple water line breaks led to an extended holiday.

The extreme cold temperatures may be behind us, but the footprints left behind had a field day last week in Harlan County.

“The arctic blast affected our school district. Several of our schools [had] pipes burst, heating units that froze and had to be thawed out, we lost heating in several classrooms. So we had to a lot of clean-up,” said Mike Howard, Superintendent of Harlan County Schools.

The “clean-up” caused schools across the district, even those not directly affected, to be closed all week. But administrators say that effort concluded Friday evening, allowing for classes to resume this coming Monday.

“Our maintenance people have put in a lot of hours and they've done a great job,” Howard said.

One student says he is ready to return.

“I miss all of my friends and teachers,” says Austin Belcher, a sophomore at Harlan County High School.

He says the weather's damaging effects were not limited to the school grounds, but something he is witnessing his community, as well as his family, battle against.

“I felt sorry for the families who don't have insulated homes, you know, for their pipes and stuff because ours busted I think yesterday but we got it fixed,” Belcher said.

As for the school district, Superintendent Howard says he is still waiting for confirmation as to the total monetary damages, but says it expects the bill to be well into the thousands.

Administrators say the students will make up these missed days by the end of the school year.

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