TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – On Monday, not only did Tyndall Air Force Base airmen return to work, but students headed back to class at Tyndall Elementary School.
“It’s hard to make the commitment to all the military servicemen and women without having the commitment to education,” said Governor Rick Scott.
Governor Rick Scott and Tyndall Base Commander Colonel Brian Laidlaw welcomed back students at Tyndall Elementary School.
“I’d like to thank the teachers and staff here at Tyndall Elementary School to open up today, the same day we are opening up the base. I think today is another great example of us all working together to get back on our feet,” said Col. Laidlaw.
Student attendance was a concern ahead of the school reopening with so many servicemen and women relocated. Principal Kimberly Kirkman said about 200 students showed up, significantly less than the pre-storm enrollment of 731.
“As soon as base housing becomes available the expectation is that we will be able to continue the growth and hopefully by the summer we will start seeing enrollment numbers back to what they were,” said Kirkman.
“I’ve had quite a few hurricanes as governor and one of the things you learn quickly is you have to get your schools open as quick as possible,” said Gov. Scott.
Scott said schools provide not only a daily routine but sometimes the only hot meals of day for some children.
“You could see it in the faces of the kids they love being back here it feels like home,” said Gov. Scott.
Principal Kirkman said like many schools, they are still trying to get in touch with some families to see if they plan to return.