JOPLIN, Mo. -- Students of Joplin schools will resume classes next week, many of them in temporary modular classrooms provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). School begins Aug. 17, almost three months after an EF5 tornado prematurely ended their spring semester.
The average first day of school finds a flutter of excited, reunited students; patient teachers calling out roll, handing out syllabi; and sparkling hallways thoroughly cleaned during the summer vacation. Although the disaster could easily have dampened spirits, the hard work and optimism of Joplin students and faculty will allow the first day of school to be traditional and as thrilling as usual.
Energetic students will wear their "first day" outfits and excitedly catch up with friends in temporary classrooms within modular units provided by FEMA and installed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Modular units are being provided for seven public schools that were heavily damaged by the storm.; Safe rooms will also be provided for locations without shelter from severe weather.
"Everyone is pulling together to get things ready. The arrival of the modulars, early on, said 'something's working,' and that was a lift," said Joplin Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Angie Besendorfer.
School spirit remains high as the students and staffs of relocated Joplin schools prepare to move into the modular units, patiently waiting for their permanent school buildings. In the meantime, their temporary quarters should be quite comfortable.
"I know the science department especially has been really pleased with the quality of the modular classrooms, but so are all of the teachers!They are nice classrooms! They have windows and great lighting, they are a nice place to be and the teachers want to be there," said Dr. Besendorfer.
Relocated schools are being provided temporary modular units and safe rooms as follows:
- Early Childhood Development: modular units for classrooms, art room and an administration room;
- Irving Elementary School: safe rooms, modular units for classrooms and a kitchen;
- Emerson Elementary School: safe rooms, modular units for classrooms and a gym;
- Duenweg/Duquesne Elementary School: safe rooms, modular units for classrooms;
- East Middle School: safe rooms, modular units for science labs, music rooms, a kitchen and a gym;
- Joplin High School 9/10 campus: modular units for science and chemistry labs, an industrial lab, a greenhouse and classrooms;
- Joplin High School 11/12 campus: safe rooms, modular units for science and chemistry labs, classrooms and a kitchen;
- Franklin Technical Center: safe rooms.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government's primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and covers the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.
FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA disaster loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3...