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DALLAS | Teachers return to damaged classrooms in hard hats | News

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DALLAS | Teachers return to damaged classrooms in hard hats
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DALLAS, Ga. -- A dozen teachers were escorted to their classrooms on Sunday for the first time since a tornado peeled away part of the roof at Poole Elementary School on Friday night.

They had to wear hard hats because the damage to their wing is so extensive.

HELP DESK | How you can help Poole Elementary

"It's overwhelming, but it is what it is," said teacher Kelly Gragg.

The teachers found books, computers and papers waterlogged, plus some posters torn right off the walls. But most of the furniture is in good shape still.

"We'll dry things out, throw things away, put stuff in storage and be ready to go tomorrow morning," said teacher Loretta Smith. "I'm looking forward to it."

Three fourth-grade classrooms and three fifth-grade classrooms will have to relocate to another part of the building, but school will start on time as usual on Monday morning.

Students may be nervous, but their teachers will be ready.

"We can't wait until tomorrow morning when they get here to hug them and tell them it's gonna be okay," Gragg said. "We're a very close school, and we're a family."

An engineer has declared the school building safe. The damaged wing will remain off-limits. 

"We're going to get through this," said Paulding County Schools Superintendent Cliff Cole. "It was a blessing it happened on a Friday night. I can't imagine it happening when school was going on."

School officials said bus pick-ups may be delayed on Monday morning if bus routes have to be changed because of road closings associated with Friday's storm.

The National Weather Service has determined an EF-3 tornado hit Paulding and Haralson Counties. It was on the ground for 29 miles with winds as high as 165 miles per hour.

No one in Paulding County was injured.

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