Tuesday, March 11, 1997
Students returning
to class

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Schools in flood-struck areas around the Tristate are reopening this week, many having doubled last week as emergency shelters and police command posts.

Receding water, too, allowed some schools to reopen. Students returned today to Cincinnati Public Schools' Project Succeed Academy. The rising Ohio River forced the closing March 3 of the academy's Peter Clark School building on Eastern Avenue.

A.J. Jolly Elementary School in Campbell County reopened Monday after water kept it closed for four days.

Schools will reopen Wednesday in Clermont County's New Richmond and the Ripley-area school district in Brown County. officials said. Classes were suspended as of March 3 in both districts because many families were flood victims and because both high schools were taken over by emergency officials.

Ripley-Union-Lewis School District's central office was swamped with 4 1/2 feet of water mixed with fuel oil, Superintendent Steve Oborn said. ''We'll be kind of homeless for a while,'' he said.

New Richmond teachers and bus drivers met Monday with professional counselors to discuss reactions they could expect from returning students. The homes of about 1,600 people were flooded in the village when the Ohio River overflowed into its streets.

''We believe a large percentage of our students will come back with emotional distress,'' said Martha Menefee, the district's director of curriculum and instruction. ''We wanted our teachers to be alert to the signs of stress.''

The flood delayed students from taking Ohio's required proficiency tests, scheduled to be given to fourth-, sixth-, and ninth-graders March 3-22. New Richmond officials will begin giving the tests March 17, to allow students time to adjust, Ms. Menefee said.

All schools except one building are now open in the Adams County/Ohio Valley School District, where flash floods hit after heavy rains March 1. Officials hope to open by Wednesday the last building, which houses Manchester High and Woolard Elementary schools, and has been used for emergency services.

In other areas:

Pendleton County School District is closed at least through Friday.

Silver Grove Independent School District plans to reopen Thursday.

South Dearborn Community Schools reopened Monday, after closing for three days.

Switzerland County Schools will be closed probably until Wednesday for bridge problems and a boil-water alert in East Enterprise, Ind.

Mark Skertic contributed to this report.