School & District Management

Some Houston-Area Schools Open After Harvey, But Uncertainty Lingers

By Corey Mitchell — September 11, 2017 2 min read

Hundreds of thousands of Houston-area students were set to return to classes Monday more than two weeks after Hurricane Harvey upended their lives and interrupted their education.

While school leaders in the Houston Independent School District and elsewhere in southeastern Texas are re-opening schools, they’re facing plenty of questions and uncertainty.

They’re unsure how many of the students are back in school today: Many of the children displaced by Harvey are living in shelters or attending classes in districts in neighboring counties or other Texas cities such as Dallas or San Antonio.

Many districts are still struggling to open buildings and assess the damage to schools after Harvey dumped more than 50 inches of rain on the region. The damage estimates in Houston alone could top $700 million, as my colleagues Denisa R. Superville and Arianna Prothero reported last week.

Superintendent Richard Carranza told our reporters that students from at least nine schools in the 215,000-student district will relocate to other buildings, and three of those schools may not open at all this year, because of extensive damage. But Carranza remained optimistic and hopeful Monday as students and staff returned to classrooms.

However, the outlook isn’t as bright in some schools systems in the region, including Aransas County, where schools will remain closed indefinitely.

Most students in Aransas County will attend classes in the neighboring districts of Galena Park and Sinton. In a Facebook post to parents, students, and staff, Aransas schools Superintendent Joseph Patek wrote that the two schools systems are “quality school districts and have made significant strides to provide the very best transition for children displaced by the hurricane. The loss of 40 instructional days while waiting for our school to re-open could put these students at a significant academic disadvantage.”

Photo: Wearing a hairnet, Houston Independent School District Superintendent Richard Carranza, right, helps hand out breakfast to students on their first day of school at Codwell Elementary School on Sept. 11 in Houston. Students in Houston are finally starting their new school year following a two-week delay because of damage from Hurricane Harvey. (--David J. Phillip/AP)

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