Texas Education Agency Commissioner Michael Williams issued a statement Wednesday saying the Van Independent School District had been granted an attendance wavier that will allow them to cancel classes for the remainder of the year for Pre-K through 3rd grade students.
The district's elementary school suffered extensive damage when an EF-3 tornado with winds speeds as high as 140 mph ripped through the small East Texas town. All five of the district's campuses suffered damage in the storm.
Two people were killed and more than three dozen were injured as the storm pushed through Van Vandt County Sunday night.
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Williams issued the following statement to the media Wednesday:
“Over the past several days, I have had multiple conversations with Van ISD Superintendent Don Dunn regarding the storms that hit facilities within his district last weekend. I have assured him that the Texas Education Agency stands ready to assist with any issues he may identify. As the elementary school buildings have suffered extensive damage, agency staff has been instructed to approve the attendance waiver that will allow the district to cancel its classes for Pre-K through third grade students for the remainder of the school year. In regard to testing requirements, the circumstances provide us with the ability to work with Van ISD to provide the necessary flexibility. Superintendent Dunn has far more pressing issues relating to his students, staff and community. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the Texas Education Agency continue to be with the city of Van during this time.”
Gov. Greg Abbott has issued a disaster declaration for the county, clearing the way for additional government assistance.