Two schools in Dallas are likely a total loss after a tornado hit the city Sunday, Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said Monday.
After a EF-3 tornado caused catastrophic damage Sunday night, 19 campuses were closed Monday.
Cary Middle School, Walnut Hill Elementary and Thomas Jefferson High School were the most severely damaged, and students may never be able to return to school there, Hinojosa said at a 4:15 p.m. press conference.
David Burnet, Leonides Gonzalez Cigarroa and Pershing elementary schools were also damaged. Students from Burnet and Cigarroa schools will attend classes starting Wednesday at Alfred J. Loos Sports Complex in Addison until the buildings can be fixed. Hinojosa said they are hoping those schools will be open by next Monday, Oct. 28.
Students from Pershing will hopefully return to their own building Wednesday — if not, they will also attend Loos Sports Complex.
About 10 other schools were closed Monday because of power outages. Several of those campuses were to hold classes Tuesday, while others might have to wait to open until certain roads are no longer restricted, Hinojosa said.
However, Walnut Hill Elementary and Cary Middle School might be a total loss, Hinojosa said. Jefferson High School had severe structural damage but may be available for students to return to by next August.
A structural engineer will evaluate the high school building to assess the extent of the damage, Hinojosa said.
“We cannot let these students stay home,” Hinojosa said. “This is a very big ordeal to figure out all the details in short order.”
Students from Walnut Hill will move to Tom Field Elementary School, which was not being used. All 425 students may be at the school for a year and a half.
Students at Cary Middle School, which Hinojosa said was the most damaged in the tornado, will be split in half and sent to two other schools. Of the 500 students, 300 will go to Benjamin Franklin Middle School and 200 will go to Francisco Medrano Middle School.
The students will be split based on where they live, he said.
As for the 1,800 students at Jefferson High School, they will move to Thomas Edison Middle Learning Center, which the city closed last year.
“We are trying to make the best of a very significant situation,” Hinojosa said.
Crisis counseling will be made available to students. Hinojosa said for some, seeing their schools with so much damage could be traumatizing.
“Walnut Hill has such a rich history. There are some kids who are going to be traumatized by how that building looks right now,” he said.
The schools which closed Monday due to tornado damage were: Edward H. Cary, Francisco Medrano, and Benjamin Franklin middle schools; Caillet, Dealey, Foster, Hexter, Arthur Kramer, Joe May, Leonides Gonzalez Cigarroa, John J. Pershing, Mark Twain, David G. Burnet and Walnut Hill elementary schools; and Hillcrest and Thomas Jefferson high schools and South Oak Cliff High School at Village Fair.