Fort Smith students will not be required to make up the final three days of school that were canceled due to flooding.

Superintendent Doug Brubaker said in a video posted to the district’s Facebook page the State Board of Education approved a waiver “that frees our district from the 178 school day requirement.”

Brubaker said the district is grateful for the approval. He also specifically thanked Sebastian County Judge David Hudson, Mayor George McGill and other district groups who voiced their support for the waiver and reasoning behind the cancellations.

The waiver was submitted May 28 and approved by the Fort Smith school board at a called meeting June 3. Reasons to waive the school day requirement included the severe flooding, additional rain the city received, the number of staff who live outside of Fort Smith and could not easily make it to work and the district families who were displaced.

“We passed this milestone, but it still weighs on our hearts that we’re, as a community, just beginning that recovery effort,” Brubaker said.

The Arkansas River crested about two weeks ago and has been steadily dropping ever since, finally dipping below flood stage Thursday.

Many of those impacted are now beginning the assessment and cleanup phase, which will likely take months and maybe years for some.

Brubaker said everyone could be a part of the relief efforts by signing up to be a volunteer. He also praised those in the district who have worked to assist through the historic event.

“It has been heartening, and you’ve probably seen all the posts on Facebook of all the kids, their families, our staff members who have been out in the community helping people recover from this really tough situation,” Brubaker said.

Sports teams from Northside and Southside High School helped pack sandbags and distribute food to those who’d been impacted by the flooding. Students, staff and alumni from other district campuses volunteered to helped residents clear out their homes before the flooding arrived.

“Sometimes when you get to step back and follow their lead, it’s really humbling and inspiring as a coach,” Southside volleyball coach Natalie Throneberry previously told the Times Record. “They didn’t miss a beat.”

Students needing to take semester exams have one last opportunity to do so at their respective school on Tuesday. Final grades will officially be a part of student records next Thursday.

Van Buren Public Schools also received an exemption from the 178-day school year requirement.