Richmond Community Schools to return to class Tuesday days after massive fire

RICHMOND — Students in Richmond can return to class Tuesday after missing multiple days of school due to a massive fire in the city.

>> Richmond Toxic Fire: Evacuation order lifted in Richmond after massive fire

City and county officials announced Sunday that the evacuation order was lifted and provided Richmond Community Schools with guidance for proper air quality cleansing, the school district said on their website.

“Not only have we followed the guidance and recommendations of such entities, but we have also taken additional purifying steps to assure that our learning environments are safe and conducive for learning,” the school district said.

>>PHOTOS: Large-scale fire continues to send plumes of black smoke into air in Richmond

Richmond Community Schools will be operating on a normal in-person early release Tuesday schedule.

As the district is in the midst of testing season, school officials will be using the afternoon Tuesday to plan for the remainder of the week, the district said.

“RCS is truly grateful for the selfless service of our Richmond Fire Department, our Wayne County Emergency Management Agency, and all first responders who are working tirelessly to keep us safe. To our own faculty, staff, students, and stakeholders, we, too, thank you all for your patience, resilience, and continued support. Our leadership teams have been working around the clock to keep up with matters at hand. Through collective support, we have gotten the job done,” the district said. “Finally, to all of the families that have been displaced as a result of the industrial fire, please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. Hopefully, those with children will rest a little easier knowing that their children will have a familiar place to attend starting tomorrow.”

News Center 7 spokes with Richmond High School Senior Taylor Mikesell about missing four days of school, plus her after school team activities that were postponed.

“It’s definitely affected things,” Mikesell said. “I’m actually on the dance team and we had to move back our showcase.”

Mikesell’s mother, Karrie DeSonie, says she wasn’t happy about her daughter missing that much school with no e-learning happening.

“Kind of disrupting the class time and her extra activity,” DeSonie said. “It really has impacted her a little bit. They work really hard all year long for this showcase.”

DeSonie says she understands the district taking its time to make sure it was safe for kids to return to school after the toxic fire.

“They’re doing the best they can. It’s just the whole situation is just really unfortunate for everyone,” DeSonie said.

The district told News Center 7 they’ve asked the Indiana Department of Education to not have to add make up days to the end of the school year calendar for the class they’ve missed because of the toxic fire.

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