Education

More Than 1 Million Students Affected by Hurricane Harvey So Far

By Daarel Burnette II — August 31, 2017 3 min read

UPDATED

Students in Texas’ largest school district, Houston, are expected to return to school on September 11, with administrators reporting to work on Sept. 5, the day after Labor Day.

The school year was scheduled to start on Aug. 28, but the opening day was pushed back after then-Tropical Storm Harvey dumped more than 50 inches of rain in parts of the city, causing severe flooding. The district scheduled a reopening on Sept. 5, but that was also later pushed back.

More than a million students are now affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in some way, according to the Texas Education Agency, as the remnants of the storm shifted east and its devastating effects on the education community continue.

That number is expected to grow as the storm, now downgraded to a tropical depression moved into Louisiana. New Orleans-area schools remained closed for the week.

In Texas, district officials with undamaged schools are scrambling to get students quickly enrolled and back into school to avoid lost learning time. Up to 220 districts have closed at some point due to the storm.

More than 150 school buildings in Texas have some sort of physical damage from the storm, officials around the state said. Houston Superintendent Richard Carranza said 35 of his district’s almost 300 school buildings were flooded or lost power. He said the Houston district likely won’t open until after Labor Day.

The district said Wednesday that it will offer three free meals for all returning students for the entirety of the school year.

“This city is in a lot of pain right now,” Carranza told the Associated Press."We want to get back as soon as possible.”

The number of districts saying that they will enroll students from Harvey-affected areas continued to grow this week. Austin’s school officials expect thousands of students displaced from the storm to enroll in their schools in the coming week, and San Antonio’s superintendent urged principals to enroll their students in school as quickly as possible.

The Corpus Christi school district said it planned to enroll students who were displaced by the storm. Flour-Bluff school district, about 20 miles away from Corpus Christi, also planned to hold an information fair on Friday for students and families affected by Harvey. The district is close to Port Aransas school district, and expects up to 75 percent of Port Aransas’ students, according to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Another nearby district, the Gregory-Portland district, was also planning a fair for displaced students on Friday afternoon, the Port Aransas district said on Facebook. The Port Aransas school district is still closed.

Under the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, principals must enroll students displaced by a storm no matter if they have the proper documents are not. Homeless students under the act are offered transportation to their home school, free lunch, and basic services they were offered at their prior school, if they decide to transfer.

For more information on the McKinney-Vento Act, click here.

Meanwhile, school districts across the country have stepped up to provide aid and donations to Harvey’s victims.

Photo: Jay-Vian Johnson, front, plays with a toy helicopter as his father Clayton Riles and mother Jessica Johnson sit on a bench in front of Spring High School in Houston on Aug. 29, where they are sheltering after Tropical Storm Harvey forced them to evacuate their home.


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A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.