Firefighters visit middle schoolers for reassurance - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Firefighters visit middle schoolers for reassurance

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A forestry crew took a brief time-out to visit with middle schoolers at Ivy Academy. They answered questions about the wildfires, hoping to give them some reassurance.

Students at Ivy Academy specialize in environmental studies. The wildfires are of particular interest to them because their outdoor classrooms are burning.

Students are often outside for class at Ivy Academy, a charter school that de-emphasizes the traditional classroom. But due to the wildfires, the outdoors are off limits. “We couldn't go outside because all the smoke near us, it is by the trails. We can't go on the trails we usually go on,” said 7th grader Briana Dalzell.

Firefighters are working directly across from the school where the smoke is heavy. Students have a lot of questions. “It is weird experience, but I believe it’s a good experience, showing how trained the fire departments are,” said another 7th grade student, Alex Griffith.

The school invited firefighters to speak about what they're doing to contain the wildfires, what the fire is doing to the environment, and how it can be a good thing for the wilderness. “It does a lot of good. It renews the forest, cleans up the brush and liter. Educate them on the wildland fire,” said Matt Snyder with GFP Enterprises based out of Oregon. Firefighters hope if they learn it in school, they'll take it home, and give that message to other family members. “Start with the kids and educate the adults as well, that could be a definite benefit.”

But for now, it’s a waiting game for these students as they put their trust in first responders to protect their school, inside and out. “I feel pretty good because I am trusting them and their jobs, it's pretty cool,” said Griffith.

Interim superintendent, Kirk Kelly visited the area Tuesday morning, and said overall, attendance hasn't been affected due to the smoke, he said if parents feel it necessary to remove their children from school for health reasons, contact the school to make arrangements to pick up their child.

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