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Students and teachers return to Hector A. Cafferata Jr. Elementary School

"It’s a great day and it’s an early Christmas present for all of us here at Hector Cafferata elementary school."
Posted at 8:35 PM, Dec 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-19 20:35:58-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Today was a big day today for students at Hector A. Cafferata Jr. Elementary School.

Monday December 19th, 2022 was the first day back to a somewhat new normal for them. They aren't back in their actual school yet but 46 portables are right nearby that students and staff will temporarily use so that they aren't separated on two campuses like they have been since Hurricane Ian.

Emotional... how many teachers described today as the district says these 46 portables will now be the temporary school for these children.

As the district says Hector A. Cafferata Jr. Elementary School is one of the most damaged in the district.

Teachers are saying they felt a bit overwhelmed since they had two weeks to move everything into the new temporary portables to make their classrooms. The district says the roof of the original school was essentially taken off as water the building as water saturated the second floor down to the first floor.

And while a presentation is set to take place in January to find out what will be done with this building - students and teachers are just happy to be one step closer back to their original school.

Dr. Jason Kurtz, the principal of Cafferata Junior Elementary said, "being all back together under one roof is like having your entire family back together."

And along with being together something else to keep in mind that Principal Jason Kurtz tells FOX 4 is safety - even though this may not look like a traditional school building it still has to meet the safety standards.

Kurtz adds, "We have our security cameras, we have a gated fenced in campus that’s separate from the campus from what we’re sharing a Cape Coral tech we have our SRO in place and all of our evacuation routes and fire alarms we’re still required to have all those in place."

As for the January presentation, the district tells us that they will talk about the options going forward — that's either to repair the school here or potentially have to rebuild the entire school. February is the earliest when the board can make a decision.

But as for today the district says the pickup and drop offs went smooth and it's nice to see this kind of progress post Hurricane Ian.