WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Five months ago on Monday, an EF-3 tornado ripped through parts of Middle Tennessee, striking two Wilson County schools and causing roughly $85 million in damages.
The damages left 1,700 students and 150 teachers without classrooms. But soon after the tornado hit, COVID-19 shut down schools nationwide.
Now, just two weeks before kids return to the classroom, that will undoubtedly be abnormal, News 2 has obtained new video released Friday of the tornado destroying Stoner Creek Elementary.
“Even I get chills looking at it,” said Bart Barker, PIO at Wilson County Schools. “Seeing how that tornado in an instant did so much damage in a short amount of time and then just went on its way.”
You’ll see in the video that’s less than a minute long, the tornado pushing and pulling debris as though it were as light as dust.
“The fact no one was in the building during that time its amazing,” said Barker.
Whether it’s the tornado or the pandemic, the school district’s motto remains the same— ‘adjust and rebuild.’
“We’re in the process of figuring out what the properties at Stoner Creek and West Wilson will look like,” said Barker, “That’s still in the hands of insurance, a very complex process as you can imagine.
Barker said the district is still trying to figure out if they will build new or solely repair.
“What we ask for more than anything right now is your support,” said Barker, “Let go of what was, accept what is and have faith in what will be.”
The Wilson County Schools start date has been pushed back to August 17.
Kindergarten to fifth-grade students from Stoner Creek Elementary will join West Wilson Middle School sixth-graders at Mt. Juliet Middle School. Mt. Juliet Middle School sixth-graders will also stay at their school for the upcoming school year.
Seventh and eighth-grade students from Mt. Juliet Middle School will go to their feeder high school at Green Hill. Seventh and eighth graders from West Wilson Middle School will do the same, attending Mt. Juliet High School in the fall.
In addition, the teaching and learning model has been changed to begin the school year.
Traditional was the original plan, but Wilson County Schools now intends to start the school year in a Modified Hybrid Model. The modification is due to the inclusion of all K-12 students. The previous Hybrid model was K-8, so this modification would now include all high school students.
And, it’s been more than a week since the school board decided to not require students to wear masks when they return to class. Students were given the option of returning to a traditional school or virtual learning.
The deadline to opt out of virtual learning was Wednesday, July 29 at 3:30 p.m.
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of Super Tuesday tornado rebuilding and recovery.