Teachers prepare for classes to resume at McSwain Union Elementary School District campuses

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Thursday, January 19, 2023
Teachers prepare for classes to resume at McSwain Union Elementary School District campuses
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Preparations were underway Wednesday as the McSwain Union Elementary School District worked to get nearly 900 students back at their desks by Monday morning.

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Preparations were underway Wednesday as the McSwain Union Elementary School District worked to get nearly 900 students back at their desks by Monday morning.

For McSwain Union Elementary School District, the flooding damage didn't happen to the classrooms, it was the infrastructure surrounding the east and west campuses.

Now that the sun is shining and the water has receded, school officials are making sure students not only have physical access to their school, but that they're emotionally ready to come back as well.

"They're going to come in and they've probably been through some horrible times. So, we're going to be here for them," said Julie Nalle-Acosta, a 6th grade teacher.

Nalle-Acosta is getting the café ready for students come Monday.

Only this cozy setting serves math equations and science formulas instead of loaded or decaf.

"We'll get back on track kids will rise to the occasion, and we'll have fun while we do it," Nalle-Acosta said.

After devastating floodwaters tore through town and around McSwain Union Elementary School District campuses, the educator of 27 years is working nonstop to bring her students some sense of normalcy.

"In the morning, I had kids texting me saying I can't be at school because my house is flooding," said Nalle-Acosta.

Typically working on computer fixes to make sure students are online, IT director Hau Nguyen spent Thursday rolling up his sleeves.

"In it everything's running so i have time to help maintenance in any way I can," explained Nguyen.

It's all hands on deck for faculty and staff as they race against the clock. Making sure Monday's projected re-opening date happens without a hitch.

"There's a lot of repairs and I'm helping maintenance out on filling up the woodchips here and areas that are flooded," Nguyen said.

Less than one week ago, Scott Road, in front of campus, resembled a riverway.

Now, it's all hands on deck to give almost 900 students access to their classrooms.

"We have bark coming in to get back in our beds we have road base to fill the shoulders of the road that washed out," said Andrew Kersten, the superintendent of McSwain Union Elementary School District.

In addition to building accelerated instruction plans to make up for missed school days, teachers also spent Wednesday getting trained in meeting the emotional needs of students who were either directly or indirectly impacted by flooding.

"They will have trauma. many of our kids have family members that have been evacuated lost their homes they've lost their households and so were making sure we meet the needs of those kids," said Kersten.