March 9, 2017

District 32 will not make up days missed due to tornado

PERRYVILLE -- Perry County School District 32 will not be required to make up school days missed after the Tuesday, Feb. 28 tornado that devastated parts of the community.

Students from District 32 unloaded buses and trucks full of donations from schools in the Jefferson County Athletic Conference on Friday at tornado relief distribution centers and food pantries. Some of the students are pictured (above) at the Immanuel Lutheran Food Pantry.

Dr. Roger Dorson, the Deputy Missouri Commissioner of Education, granted forgiveness of the three school days, March 1-3, 2017, at the request of Superintendent Andy Comstock.

The Board of Education unanimously approved the amended calendar as presented by Comstock during its regular meeting yesterday evening.

Click HERE for the amended calendar.

Student Emma Grein was one of dozens of students who volunteered with the laundry service for storm survivors offered by District 32 staff, students, parents, retirees, board members and other community members.

Comstock made the request to the Commissioner on Monday, and received Dr. Dorson’s response Tuesday morning. In his request, Comstock explained that a confirmed EF-4 tornado had damaged more than 110 homes, completely destroying 42. He also described the incredible support to relief efforts being undertaken by District 32 students and staff.

PHS students Kayla Buchheit (left) and Caleb Hadler worked at the laundry service the District 32 family offered to those affected by the tornado.

"(By Friday, we’d heard) … countless stories about how our students were out helping in the community with those relief efforts," Comstock wrote. "Our staff members tirelessly worked to help families in need during their most vulnerable times. The overwhelming need to continue relief efforts exceeded what I thought would be a good instructional day on Friday, March 3; therefore, I cancelled school for that day as well.

Students Connor Steffens (left) and Joel Daugherty retrieve personal possessions and cleaned up debris from the tornado.

"I tell you all this so that you understand what happened to our community. The tornado touched us in a way that can be seen and felt, but most importantly it reminded us of what communities are all about. The lessons our students and staff learned during those three days could not have been taught within the confines of our school buildings. Therefore, I am requesting that you consider forgiving the district from the requirement (to make up the missed days.)"

In a letter from Deputy Commissioner Dorson, it was noted that District 32 would still have 1,106 hours of instructional time, well above the state-required 1,044 — without making up the three missed days.

The only remaining make-up day is now Thursday, March 16.

Students will not be in classes on

• March 17 for spring break

• March 20, which is a professional development day

•April 14 & 17, for Easter break

Any further school days missed due to inclement weather would be made up according to DESE rules and District policy.