"The morning after the tornado, he said, 'I hope my school box is OK,'" Gerard Elementary School mom Stephanie Franklin said of her son, Corbin.
The kindergartener is among 23 who will be attending Jill Crook's class in the school's first-grade annex on Monday.
Crook said she found Corbin's pencil box unharmed and has put it in a safe spot for his return to school. After seeing what was left of her classroom for the first time on Friday, Crook said she can finally go through the remnants of the room — one of two at Gerard that was heavily damaged by Wednesday's tornado — without crying.
Still, she said, it's not easy.
"I was worried about the kids coming and seeing it," she said. "But [Belfor Property Restoration] has been wonderful. The district has been amazing."
Mary Poteet, whose two oldest daughters attend Gerard, said her children are having some fears about the possibility of more tornadoes.
"They are quite upset," she said. "Our house is still standing, but our fence blew down. I had my oldest daughter write her feelings and the other I had draw pictures."
Crook teaches Poteet's youngest daughter and said she expects many students to harbor unease about weather for some time.
Gerard and Smith Middle School students will return to their campuses on Monday after being out of school on Thursday and Friday.
Superintendent Tim Miller said at a parent information meeting on Sunday that buses will run on schedule and each of the campuses will be able to serve lunch as usual.
"I'm very thankful to see all of you here well," Gerard Principal Joel Blalock said. "That's awesome. Almost to the point of it being a miracle.
"Gerard is not this building. Gerard is the teachers, the students the parents. Wednesday night when I came up here after the storms hit, I was pretty sure we would not be able to have school here anytime soon. But there has been a huge crew here and they have done an outstanding job."
Campus doors will open earlier than usual at 7 a.m. Monday to allow for the anticipated extra traffic and time to get to school. Though power, air conditioning and plumbing has been completely restored at both campuses, area street lights are still out, so parents were urged to be patient and use caution.
"Don't worry about tardies," Blalock said. "We aren't going to worry about tardies for quite some time."
Many of the recently scheduled activities and test days are being moved to other dates, Miller said, adding that information will be made available to parents and teachers via the district website, www.cleburne.k12.tx.us, SkyWard Family Access and Facebook.
Blalock said the incoming sixth-grade parent meeting, scheduled for Monday, is moved to 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Smith.
Smith Principal Bill Allen also expressed his gratitude for the city of Cleburne and its sense of community following the storm. He said that the temporary air conditioning units set up behind Smith would not be in the way of drop-offs or pick-ups; however, school officials urged parents of children who walk to school to make sure their children wear close-toed shoes for the next few days. Though school grounds have been cautiously swept and monitored for debris, the district cannot guarantee there is no glass or other harmful objects on the sidewalks and streets headed toward campus, officials said.
Additional security will be present as the area immediately surrounding Gerard and Smith continues to clean up.
Miller said he would be speaking with the Texas Education Agency on Monday about whether the last day of school would remain the same.