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Published April 04, 2009, 12:00 AM

Area schools will try to resume routine

Thousands of students left classrooms nearly two weeks ago to fight floodwaters in the Fargo-Moorhead area. They’ll return to classrooms next week, even if it’s short-lived.

By: Kelly Smith, INFORUM

Thousands of students left classrooms nearly two weeks ago to fight floodwaters in the Fargo-Moorhead area. They’ll return to classrooms next week, even if it’s short-lived.

“I think everybody wants to get back to some sense of normalcy and routine here as quickly as possible,” Fargo Public Schools Superintendent Rick Buresh said Friday.

It could be a brief return to routine.

The National Weather Service released a new prediction Friday, giving a 90 percent chance the Red River will crest at 40.4 feet in Fargo-Moorhead between April 15-22, and a 25 percent chance it will crest at over 42.8 feet.

The Red set a record crest of 40.82 feet at Fargo on March 28.

That’s all the more reason for crews to continue repairing a dike leak that flooded two buildings at Fargo Oak Grove School last weekend.

While most students from Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo and area colleges return to classrooms Monday, Oak Grove middle and high school students will return to a “new normal” on Wednesday.

“It was not realistic to get our classrooms up and running,” President Bruce Messelt said of the significant damage on campus.

Instead – likely for the first time in the private school’s history – students will relocate to a public school.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to partnership during a time of tragedy,” Messelt said. “I think it’s indicative of how people have come together during this flood event.”

Oak Grove elementary students will return Monday to their south Fargo campus, but the estimated 300 sixth- through 12th-grade students from the north campus will spend the rest of the year in South Campus II classrooms and portables.

“It’s almost like the first day of school in many ways,” high school Principal Morgan Forness said. “They’re kind of excited to get back in action here. It’s been an intense couple weeks here.”

The school expects to be back at its own campus in August.

In the meantime, officials at all area schools are applying for state forgiveness of missed days so schedules can remain as planned.

Here’s what students and parents need to know:

  • Moorhead School District: Minnesota state tests are being given as scheduled after Easter break, Superintendent Lynne Kovash said.

    Schools that were used to shelter evacuees or emergency personnel are now vacated, and no school was damaged from the flood fight. Robert Asp Elementary will be fenced off.

    On Monday, the School Board is expected to approve forgiving missed school days.

  • Fargo public schools: Centennial Elementary and Discovery Middle School will have chain link fences around pits that were created when dirt was used to build dikes. No schools were damaged and all have been vacated by flood-related personnel, Assistant Superintendent Dan Huffman said.

    Centennial Elementary students who live north of 40th Avenue are asked to walk to school if they can, City Engineer Jeremy Gordon said, because the “fewer cars in that area the better.” Additional crossing guards will be stationed there.

    Eight bus routes will be modified due to road closings, which will be detailed on the district’s Web site.

  • West Fargo School District: Students living in the Harwood area won’t be bused Monday due to flooded roads. Harwood Elementary students will remain at other district buildings, although officials will move them back as soon as possible. The school wasn’t damaged.

    The American Red Cross is scheduled to remain in the Veterans Memorial Arena connected to West Fargo High School for the next three to four weeks, taking up some student parking spots, Principal Gary Clark said.

  • Fargo Catholic Schools Network: Shuttle buses will run as normal. Bus routes may be modified.

Police officers will be out in full force next week in Fargo and West Fargo to help direct and control traffic around schools. School resource officers will resume working and extra crossing guards will be on patrol.

“Parents need to expect delays,” Fargo Police Chief Keith Ternes said. “There will be a fair amount of traffic.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kelly Smith at (701) 241-5515

For more information

  • Fargo Catholic Schools Network: www.fcsn.k12.nd.us

  • Fargo Public Schools: www.fargo.k12.nd.us

  • Moorhead Public Schools: www.moorhead.k12.mn.us

  • Oak Grove Lutheran School: www.oakgrovelutheran.com

  • West Fargo Public Schools: