IT center in Central Haywood (copy)

Waynesville Middle School is hosting Central Haywood High while its school building, the old Clyde High School, will be evaluated for damage and undergo repairs.

Flooding may have displaced the students of Central Haywood High School, but they have shown an eagerness to return to learning, according to reports given to the Haywood County school board.

Next Monday, Central students return to in-person learning, though only for two days a week for the near future.

Waynesville Middle School is hosting Central Haywood High while its school building, the old Clyde High School, will be evaluated for damage and undergo repairs, Jill Barker, assistant superintendent, told the board of education during a recent work session. Central students will meet in the old Academy classrooms on Waynesville Middle’s campus. But because space is limited there, students will be in person two days a week; half will attend each Monday and Tuesday, with the other half attending Wednesday and Thursday. Friday will be a remote learning day for all of Central, using Google Classroom, Barker said. This schedule is set to start Sept. 20.

Every single student at Central picked up a Chromebook the week after the flood to start online learning, Barker said. Many of the students, and their parents have been asking to return to school as soon as possible.

When heavy rains forced the Pigeon River from its banks on Aug. 17, leaving a swath of debris and devastation from Cruso through Clyde, Central’s two-story building was flooded. Because it stands so close to the river and it is the home of the school’s information technology (computer and database) system, Central school was the most damaged among the Haywood school system properties. Central’s students were the only ones unable to return to campus the week after the floods.

The fact that the IT system was located in a building so close to the river, in its flood plain, is something school officials will need to consider as they begin the repair and rebuilding process, said Associate Superintendent Trevor Putnam.

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