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Richneck community prepares to head back to school, gift fundraiser underway

Several weeks after the shooting, students will return to their classrooms. The community is doing what it can to try and bring them sunshine.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — In less than a week, Richneck students will return to the classroom for the first time since a teacher was shot on January 6th.

A text message sent by the school division to Richneck families says that the school will "reopen for all students on Monday, Jan. 30."

Richneck Elementary has been closed since first-grade teacher Abby Zwerner was shot and seriously hurt by one of her students. 

City officials said the shooting was not accidental, and that it happened in a classroom while Zwerner was teaching.

Ahead of the school reopening, a "Family Day" is being held on Wednesday, January 25, for Richneck students and their families to visit staff and participate in activities at the school.  

The event will be from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

However, it's not the only effort underway to help students get acclimated to the school. 

Rick Fogle, the father of the Richneck Elementary school nurse, spoke to 13News Now on his daughter's behalf. 

He said staff members are preparing gifts for all 500 Richneck students to help ease the transition back to campus.

He said it's a small gesture to show students that they are not alone.

"Hopefully this will break that barrier and they will feel loved and know that there are people out there that care about them," Fogle said. 

Fogle said they are still in need of hundreds of gifts, despite an already overwhelming response from both the community and beyond.

 If you would like to help with the effort, more information can be found through their Amazon Wishlist by clicking here.

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