Mainland announces changes in first-week schedule in light of accident

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Mainland Regional High School Mainland Regional High School LINWOOD – In light of the car accident on Route 40 in Hamilton Township Saturday morning, Aug. 30 that sent five Mainland Regional High School soccer players to the hospital, one of them with serious injuries, the schedule for the first week back to school has been changed, Interim Superintendent Robert Previti said.

Previti said the first-week schedule, which would be communicated to parents via the Connect-Ed all-call system Monday, Sept. 1, will differ from that outlined for parent and students Aug. 27 at freshman orientation.

The teacher in-service day scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 2has been canceled, as well as the breakfast the teachers normally have at the start of the year. Instead, teachers and staff are to report to school 8 a.m. Tuesday for a faculty meeting. Incoming freshmen and their parents have been asked to come in at 9 a.m. for an assembly led by Previti, who will talk about the accident and discuss signs of emotional trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder. Administrators and school counselors will be present for those who would like to speak with them.

“We have no way of knowing how something like this effects each of the kids, and we want to be prepared to help in any way we can with our students and families,” Previti said. “The staff from Belhaven will be at the meeting as well, a sign of solidarity. Four of the five girls in the accident are incoming freshmen from Linwood and attended Belhaven, so we wanted them to be a part, and they wanted to be here for the kids.”

He said there has been a great show of solidarity from the surrounding districts and that he has been in contact with other superintendents and athletic directors to talking about the emotion of the kids and student athletes.

Previti said the hope is that by the students and families dealing with their emotions prior to the commencement of classes Thursday, they will be able to begin the school year without any trepidation.

Wednesday morning, Maryanne Gaffney, the new school superintendent for the Linwood school district, will open Belhaven to speak to students and parents.

Thursday, Sept. 4 is the first day of school for students at Mainland. Previti said counselors will be available should students feel they would like to speak with someone.

The five girls involved in the accident were on their way to play soccer charity event. Incoming freshman Aisling Cook remains in critical condition.

Previti said he appreciates the cooperation and compassion that has been extended to the Mainland family over the last two days.

“We are trying to rally the community in light of whatever comes our way,” he said.

He had high praise for the staff at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, City Division where all of the girls were taken after the crash.

“The staff at AtlantiCare could not have been more kind or more understanding,” Previti said. “There were more than 150 students, staff and family congregated at the hospital. They allowed everyone there, just a few at a time a chance to visit briefly and hold her hand or let her know they were there. And the kids really needed to visit with her.”

The crash involved three vehicles and occurred at about 8:45 a.m. Saturday on Route 40 after a Chevy Silverado crossed the center line into oncoming traffic. The truck first hit a small box truck and then the Volkswagen Jetta driven by 18-year old Madelyn Williscroft of Linwood. The four other girls taken to the hospital were later released and walked out with their parents. 

Belhaven Middle School Belhaven Middle School

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