After schools out for weeks from Matthew, NC lawmakers to address calendar

PRINCEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — Some students were out of school for weeks after the Hurricane Matthew.

Now, some communities are looking to the state for guidance as they try to figure out what’s next.

You don’t see kids running out after school to meet their parents outside Princeville Elementary. Trash almost obscures a crossing sign.

The calendar still has everything that was planned to happen here – before Hurricane Matthew hit in October.

“It’s been one transition after another, but we’ve been very grateful,” Annette Walker, principal of Princeville Elementary, said.

The community took some time Monday evening celebrate amid the difficult recovery effort.

Students across Edgecombe County were recognized for their character.

“It’s just that now since we’ve changed schools, it’s been hard,” said Vaneikia Jones, a student at Princeville Elementary.

Vaneikia is among 70 students at Princeville Elementary who still can’t go home.

“Give it to God is all I can say, and we just day by day. Keep going day by day,” said mom Verna Jones.

Several weeks ago, kids from Princeville Elementary got their first look at where they’d finish the school year.

“Making sure that we were there for them to give them that sense of normalcy was very important for us,” said Wanda O’Neal, an Edgecombe County teacher.

Students at Princeville were out an additional five days compared to the rest of the county.

This week’s special session of the General Assembly will deal with the school calendar.

But, Superintendent John Farrelly says his primary concern is families like the Jones’ – who keep moving again and again.

“Citizens are suffering. And, it’s certainly been a devastating time, continues to be on a daily basis,” Farrelly said.

Looking long-term, the superintendent says insurance should cover the cost of reconstructing the school.

But, he’s planning community meetings in the coming months to see if that’s what the community wants.

Some residents are considering buyouts  and some may not move back.

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