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GISD establishes phone bank, website to assist students, staff affected by tornado 

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As Garland ISD prepares to kick off its spring semester, the district wants to ensure that all students and staff are able to return to school and work. Estimates show that more than 3,500 people from GISD may reside in the areas hit by the Dec. 26 tornadoes, leaving the possibility of temporary residences, loss of transportation, lack of food and water or the inability to wear standardized dress.

A website launched today, GISD Recovers webpage, contains a link for an online questionnaire, as well as a phone bank number. Storm victims or someone close to them are encouraged to use either one to identify themselves and share any needs they may have.

The district hopes to receive information from all students and staff affected by the storm. By receiving the information early, Garland ISD can coordinate transportation for displaced students, update records and organize uniforms and school supplies from the GRS Giving Place before classes resume Tuesday, Jan. 5. Staff members return to work Monday, Jan. 4.

The phone bank number is 972-487-4999 and it will be operational from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday through Jan. 8. Spanish speaking operators will also be available. Once information is entered via the online form or phone bank, affected families will be contacted by Garland ISD officials to organize needed assistance.

The district is also working with the cities of Garland and Rowlett to determine new bus stops around the hardest hit areas. Updated route information will be provided as soon as possible via the website and Twitter. Garland ISD administration will be present on all new bus routes Tuesday to answer any questions or concerns.

The district remains committed to helping all those in need. Since the storm, Steadham Elementary School has served as a Red Cross shelter, offering lodging, meals and emergency assistance. Buses have also transported displaced residents and other campuses have offered showers to those affected in addition to command centers for rescue personnel.

District staff organized donation drives at the Classical Center at Brandenburg Middle School, as well as Lakeview Centennial and North Garland high schools, collecting thousands of supplies in just one day and distributing them all the next. This would not have been possible without the generosity of GISD’s tri-cities and surrounding communities.