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VAN ZANDT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – Students in Canton are back at school for the first time since Saturday’s deadly tornado outbreak and this morning leaders gave an update on how they’ve ramped up the city’s response effort.
Canton Mayor Lou Ann Everett and Van Zandt County Judge Don Kirkpatrick held a press conference that began with a warning about the chance for severe weather today.
Mayor Everett said that officials with the National Weather Service informed her that, “We have an escalating weather system that is going to be very similar to Saturday and for us to be on alert.” This past weekend is when an EF 4 tornado touched down in Canton.
The Mayor encouraged residents across North Texas to pay attention and make sure to have a plan in case there is severe weather or tornadoes today. Locally, the leaders assured that they have volunteers and extra law enforcement ready and in place for any developments today.
There are still some 800 people without power in the area – with more than 300 of those in the city of Canton alone.
Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are in the county surveying damage.
Wednesday morning school buses were up and running again as students in Canton headed back to class for the first time after the storms. School buses came from as far as the Terrell Independent School District to drop students off at Canton High School. More than 600 children attend the school and administrators were hoping to see at least 75-percent of them back at school today.
Realizing that the last few days have been difficult Principal Jarrod Bitter greeted students and let them know that adults are ready to help them with whatever they need.
“We don’t really know what all those things are yet, what everyone’s emotional response in gonna be, what everyone’s physical needs are gonna be,” he said. “We’ll just be ready to smile at our kids and hug on ‘em a little bit and let them know that we’re here for ‘em. Whatever they need we’re here to try to provide.”
State testing was scheduled for schools in Canton this week, but administrators say that has been put on the backburner. Principal Bitter said they’ll figure out later on when and if they’ll make up the exams.