Back to school for Hatboro-Horsham as storm cleanup, COVID continue

This isn't your typical start to the school year after the remnants of Ida wreaked havoc in nearby neighborhoods.
HORSHAM, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- It was the first day of class for Hatboro-Horsham School District students.

There was certainly first day excitement despite the difficult week for this community that continues to clean up after last week's devastating storm.

At Simmons Elementary in Horsham, students were thrilled to be back in the classroom.

"I probably like how I can make a lot of new friends," said new fourth grader Kylan Leslie.

This isn't your typical start to the school year after the remnants of Ida wreaked havoc in nearby neighborhoods.

RELATED: Upper Dublin community coming together to rebuild after storm

"The neighborhood really rallied. They were all helping each other kind of pull everything together right after it," said parent Patrick Leslie.

Hatboro-Horsham's six schools all sustained damage, mostly exterior, which has been remediated. The water in the buildings is now gone, too.

School District Superintendent Scott Eveslage was outside Simmons bright and early welcoming back families.

"This year has been a little bit more challenging, given the layers of preparation with COVID preparation, layered with the storm that hit this area pretty hard," Eveslage said.

He added there were also network challenges and power outages.

Eveslage wants families to know they are there for them.

"At the beginning of the year, every year, we want to connect with our families, and we want to hear what they need to try to best support them and have a good school year, and this year was truly magnified with that," Eveslage said.

At Hatboro-Horsham High School, 9th graders arrived to the building before the older students, so they could get accustomed to their new space before the upperclassmen arrived.

"We have our 9th graders in first. It's been great to see them 'mask to mask' for the first time," said Principal Dennis Williams.

Williams explained his students have been impacted, and they've also helped in the recovery.

"I have students who were volunteer firefighters and first responders, who were delivering people to the fire station," Williams said.

Williams added, "Teachers who are grabbing chainsaws and going to help families. I had a soccer team that had a game that was canceled who went and dug out a family of a player on the team- so we are resilient as a community."

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