Historic flooding that swept across southern Louisiana continued to keep scores of schools closed and thousands of students out of their classrooms last week as a massive cleanup effort got underway in a wide swath of the state.
Record-setting river crests damaged homes and schools there and in parts of Mississippi and forced tens of thousands of residents to evacuate their homes for temporary shelter.
At least 13 people have died in the flooding.
In the East Baton Rouge Parish district, school administrators had hoped to reopen last week, but later postponed the return of students and most employees until September. District leaders said the delay was due in part to the discovery that some school buildings, even those that hadn’t taken on water, had developed mold or other problems. The district has 84 schools and serves more than 40,000 students.
Schools in Livingston Parish, east of Baton Rouge, remain closed indefinitely, with district leaders reporting that nearly half their buildings had been damaged. In addition to flooded schools, districts have had to deal with waterlogged buses, which could complicate their efforts to get students back in school.
Ensuring there are enough teachers and other staff members who can return to work is another challenge.
Another hard-hit school system is Central Community, where 40 percent of employees were affected by the flooding. Students there are slated to return after Labor Day.
According to the Louisiana education department, schools in 29 parishes were shut down as a result of the flooding.
A version of this article appeared in the August 31, 2016 edition of Education Week as Many Schools Remain Closed Following Flooding in Louisiana