TAZEWELL, VA (WOAY) – 9:45 AM in a Tazewell County Public school typically sees students learning during the first half of a normal school day, but a state-mandated drill saw students practicing what to do during a weather emergency.
According to Tazewell County Public Schools Public Relations Director Lindsey Mullins, the drill is meant to teach students about how to stay safe.
“The State of Virginia does a yearly tornado drill, Mullins said. “It’s just to make sure our students know what to do in the event of a real tornado. And that’s important so the children aren’t frightened and they know protocol before we get into one of those situations.”
At Tazewell Primary School, students are taught about why the drill happens and why it’s so important to know what to do in the event of a tornado.
First-grade teacher Jessica Hess says the school even goes through efforts to teach the kids about why tornadoes happen and ties it into their lesson for the day. Then, when it’s finally time, they take part in the drill.
“The kids go out in the hallway and they have a specific way to sit to protect themselves from the tornado,” Hess said. “They sit with their face facing the wall, make sure their head is covered and sit there until an adult tells them that it’s safe to come out of that position.”
Tornadoes are typically a rare sight in Appalachia, but they are not unheard of. In Tazewell County, there’s only been six reported tornadoes in the past 25 years.
“I’ve actually lived here my entire life, I’ve taught in Tazewell County for four years now. I’ve never personally witnessed a tornado.”