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Two schools damaged by Newnan tornado announce return to education

While only one will be returning to actual class, both schools plan to have students back in the learning process by April 14.

NEWNAN, Ga. — Two schools damaged when an EF-4 tornado swept through Coweta County a week ago have announced their plans to resume classes - and one won't be heading back to in-person learning this year.

Newnan High School Principal Chase Puckett shared a letter with the community on Thursday explaining how the school plans to move forward. Puckett said they are expecting to resume virtual learning for the school on April 14 and continue that way until the ender of the year.  April 12 and 13 will also be workdays for staff of the high school as they plan for online instruction.

The school also plans to offer limited space for those who still don't have access to the internet - or access to their homes in some cases - because of the storm damage.

"We are currently attempting to contact all of our students who are unaccounted for by phone, email, social media, text, or home visit," Puckett said.

The school has also set up a hotline that will operate on April 12 and 13 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for those who need help navigating the upcoming school process. That number will be 770-254-2880. For now, the principal is requesting contact at his direct email address, chase.puckett@cowetaschools.net.

Newnan High School, however, isn't the only school facing major changes due to the recent tornado's destruction. Atkinson Elementary School will also be operating under a very new setup following the storm after it, too, was damaged in the storms.

Citing information provided by engineers, Principal Ben Tarleton said repairs are expected to take several weeks. But he said that, with help from a local technical college, students will still have a chance to learn in person.

"As a result of this incredible collaborative partnership, daily school operations for Atkinson will be moving to West Georgia Technical College Coweta Campus," he added.

The campus, located at 200 Campus Drive in Newnan, will begin operations on April 14. Like at Newnan High School, faculty and staff will have April 12 and 13 to prepare for the transition and "plan for the successful return of our students back to school."

Also like the local high school, Atkinson Elementary School will have a phone line opened up on April 12 for parents to call with questions or concerns. The number is expected to be operational by 8 a.m. that day and can be reached at 770-254-2835.

"While I know we all want to be back walking the halls of Atkinson Elementary, we are very thankful we can finish the year together," Tarleton wrote. "Take care of your family, and we look forward to seeing you soon."