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First day of school at Irving Elementary - KOAM TV 7

First day of school at Irving Elementary

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The first day of school means a new place for many Joplin elementary students.

Irving Elementary sits on 26th Street in the heart of the tornado's disaster path.  Being a neighborhood school meant many students also lost their homes.

Principal Debi Fort says she is thrilled so many students returned with some families driving in from Webb City and Neosho to stay with their Irving classmates and staff.

Wednesday was a time of reunions and while some arrived by bus, others came hand in hand with parents dropping them on their first day at what's now nicknamed "Irvington".

Kids were greeted by Principal Fort and other staff members.  Besides moving into classrooms, many took tours of the new school site.  Storm shelters outside drew questions from fifth grade students and officials say they will tour them before any drills take place.

Third, fourth and fifth grade students have classrooms in modular units behind the school.  All say kids don't seem to mind the different space.

"They need normalcy and a regular schedule and back to being kids," says Shawn Fowler a mother of Irving students.  "They don't need to drive through the neighborhood every day and see it.  I drive through it every day - I try to keep them away from it as much as possible.  They just need to be around their friends, their support, get back to normal routine."

One thing the kids miss is the Irving playground.  Bigger than many it had been built with two community development block grants.  But the playground equipment was damaged when it was being salvaged so new equipment will have to be ordered.

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