Hundreds of Texas schools, including several in Houston, are facing massive recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey.
The storm left more than a million students affected and canceled or delayed classes in more than 200 school districts. Some of these districts are looking at their options for students to return to campus at all, as the damage in many school buildings was so extensive.
Dozens of campuses in the Houston Independent School District remain closed for repairs. Nine of the campuses sustained such severe damage that other nearby schools have been called on to take the extra enrollment.
Meanwhile, nearly 300 teachers were not able to start classes due to their own recovery efforts at home.
“The true impact of a situation of this magnitude is something that no one can really plan for,” said HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza. “They [teachers] have lost everything and [are] coming to work and expected to provide support and encouragement to students.”
Officials with several districts brought in crisis counselors to work with students, teachers, and employees affected by the massive storm.
“This is going to be a year of not only incredible academic achievement, but it’s going to be a year of healing,” said Carranza.
In Pasadena, a suburb southeast of Houston, Pasadena Independent School District Associate Superintendent Angela Stallings also brought in crisis counselors to help children dealing with anxiety issues stemming from the storm.
The area is also known for its refineries, which were shut down since the rains started. The refinery closures added a level of financial uncertainty for families, just as the school year starts.
School officials in other parts of Texas are taking on thousands of students displaced from their home districts.