Many Matanuska-Susinta Borough School District students headed back to the classroom Thursday as all but 13 schools are now open following last week's 7.0 earthquake.

At Academy Charter in Palmer, principal Barbara Gerard greeted students as their parents dropped them off.

"Good to see you! How are you?" she asked the kids.

"That was scary!" one little girl said. "I hated it!"

"I know, but we did good, didn't we?" the principal said.

Gerard said Academy Charter was lucky. The building has very minor damage.

"I think the students needed to be able to come back and see everything is fine and come back to normal life," Gerard said.

Academy Charter Principal Barbara Gerard greets students as they head back to school Thursday.


Benjamin Tichenor said it felt good to drop his kindergartner and second-grader off at school knowing they were in good hands with the teachers.

"One of the things we've talk with our kids about is we can wait around for an earthquake and be scared about that. Or we can rest and know we can be at peace with things and we're OK," he said.

In Verona Berg's kindergarten class, the kids quickly settled into their regular routine, coloring a worksheet then reading.

She sat the class down for a debrief on the earthquake.

"I was absolutely proud of you. You did a wonderful job doing exactly what you were supposed to do," Berg told her students.

Students said they got under their desks as soon as the earthquake started.

Verona Berg gives her kindergarten class a debrief about Friday's earthquake.


"Because of the shaking, we didn't want to get hurt," Sam Pettitt said.

Five-year-old Marina Smith described the damage to her house.

"All my toys fell down, my books fell down, my TV was crooked and my bed was crooked," Marina said.

She said she was glad to be back at school.

"I feel good because it had been closed for like a week," Marina said.

Six Mat-Su schools are scheduled to back Tuesday, Dec. 11 pending a final inspection:

Big Lake Elementary
Dena'ina Elementary
Goose Bay Elementary
Redington Jr./Sr. High
Wasilla Middle School
Wasilla High School

There are still seven schools that are still being assessed for damage with opening dates to be determined:

Finger Lake Elementary
Colony Middle
Colony High
Houston High
Houston Middle
Knik Elementary
Mat-Su Central

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