LAFAYETTE, Tenn. - It will be a long time before life is back to normal for families in Macon County, one of the state's hardest-hit areas from storms two weeks ago.
On Tuesday morning, families tried to resume a normal routine when students returned to school after storms damaged portions of the county.
Going back to school was a treat, even if it was on a day that would have been perfect to sleep in.
"They are kind of excited to see this snow, hoping to get out another day," said one parent.
"Every day they're out, they're out looking to see what happened to different areas," said parent Belinda Polston. "I think it's going to be good to some extent."
Snow fell in parts of Middle Tennessee Tuesday morning.
But snow couldn't keep the students from returning to class.
"I'm anxious to come back, but also nervous," said Macon County High School student Amy Spears. "I think it's going to be a very emotional. I think it's going to be a lot of hugs and tears. I mean people woke up in a different place this morning."
"I think it's going to be good for everybody to get back and to see the faces of their classmates and just know everybody is okay," said high school student Marcus Thompson.
Parents hope, if just for a few hours, hitting the books can take their minds off an experience some would describe as a living nightmare.
"A lot of them have really been through a lot," said Rick Clark, parent of a junior high school student. "My daughter still has trouble going to sleep. It's really been a trying time for a lot of them."
That is why the school system has specialized counselors in all seven schools Tuesday to help students deal with the emotional toll of surviving the tornadoes.
"Some of them were directly involved in the storm," said Macon County Schools Director Darrel Law. "Others were not. But just the past weeks, driving by damage, it's tough and taking it's toll on the young people."
Through out the week Macon County Schools will evaluate close to 4,000 students and personnel.
"I was just lucky," Marcus said. "It missed my neighborhood by a couple of miles."
"We are a small community," Amy said. "Everybody knows everybody. We are here for each other."
School system officials wanted to try and make the students' first day back as normal as possible.
Even though counselors were on hand, Law said, the extended time off gave students plenty of time to reflect and many students didn't need to talk.
Throughout the rest of the week, the Macon County Board of education will try to figure out how many people are out of place, which students are attending other schools, and who needs additional help.
Despite being out two weeks, the school district is still on target to finish the school year on time.
Wednesday, June 19 2013 2:24 PM EDT2013-06-19 18:24:42 GMT
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