Flood damage forces dozens of students to share one classroom at Robeson County elementary school

Flood damage forces dozens of students to share one classroom at Robeson County elementary school
Damage from Hurricane Florence has forced dozens of students to share a classroom at one Robeson County Elementary school.

ROBESON COUNTY, NC (WMBF) – Dozens of students at one Robeson County elementary school are having to share a classroom as work continues to clean up a portion of the school damaged during Hurricane Florence.

Tasha Oxendine, spokesperson for the Public Schools of Robeson County, said 50 fourth-grade students and two teachers are currently sharing a classroom at W.H. Knuckles Elementary School.

Oxendine said there was a moisture issue in the roof of the main building that included pre-K, second- and third-grade classes. That issue has been fixed, while construction work still continues.

The students were moved to an unaffected portion of the school, which Oxendine said is considered the media center and gymnasium.

At a Tuesday school board meeting, the members were told that hopes are to have all the repairs finished within a few weeks, according to Oxendine. However, a definitive completion date is still not known.

As for the number of students housed together in one classroom, Knuckles Elementary Principal Lisa Troy said staff do find times during the day to separate them, generally during reading instruction, math instruction and resource time.

According to Troy, first- and second-grade classes have also been combined, putting 29 students in one room and 34 in another, respectively.

If issues continue, Troy said one possibility is moving roughly 90 of the school’s 256 students to nearby Lumberton Junior High, which is a mile away. However, no decisions have been regarding that proposal.

For the time being, Troy said her staff and students have been “very resilient” in dealing with the situation at Knuckles Elementary.

“We’re just working to make sure that students continue to learn the curriculum during this difficult time,” she said.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story indicated that moisture still remained trapped in the roof. That issue, according to school officials, has been fixed. WMBF regrets this error.

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