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School Practice New Procedures During Statewide Tornado Drill

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- May will mark the three-year anniversary of the Joplin tornado. Winds of more than 200 miles per hour ripped through the city leaving catastrophic damage. Joplin schools were hit especially hard --- $150 million in damages and the deaths of seven kids and one educator. Since then, many Missouri schools have made safety a top priority. Nixa School District has changed their tornado procedures to remove students from halls and into windowless rooms.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. --  In under three minutes, all 22 of Kellie Bell's second graders walked, ducked and covered, and were in ready position for a tornado.

Thursday's statewide tornado drill allowed administrators, teachers, and students at Century Elementary to practice Nixa's new tornado plan.

In the event of a tornado, the new procedure will clear hallways of students at all 12 Nixa schools.

"We decided that it would be best to move kids out of hallway and move into interior rooms, interior classrooms, closets, things like that," said Zac Rantz, Director of Communication For Nixa Public Schools.

This changed a procedure that has been around for a long time.

"The practice has been for years,  years and years and years is to have students in the hallways-- duck and cover in the hallway. So this really and takes that and kind of switches it because we've seen from security footage what happens during a tornado and how a lot of hallways can become wind tunnels," said Rantz.

Bell say the changes are good for teachers and students.

"I think it's what's best for kids," said Bell. "Even though it takes a few more seconds to get where we belong, overall, they're overall out of wind, falling debris, or glass, safety of course is number one.

Two more tornado drills remain for Century Elementary's school year, but many teachers, like Bell, say they are well prepared.

"Definitely and I think my children are prepared too, our students," said Bell. "They know exactly what to do. To listen for their name, how to be safe, and why we do it."

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