Hurricane Harvey arrived in Texas just as the school year in Houston was supposed to start. Instead of heading to class, many children huddled with family at home or in shelters as the floodwaters rose. Some had to be plucked from flooded houses and roads. The storm battered school buildings, sending brackish floodwater into corridors and soaking gym floors, and damaging musical instruments and computers.
While the Houston Independent School District will open for most schoolchildren Monday, other districts will remain shuttered for much longer.
As education officials continue to gauge the toll the storm took on schoolchildren in Texas, another historic storm — Hurricane Irma — is predicted to make landfall in Florida. Gov. Rick Scott (R) ordered all public schools, state colleges and state universities closed from Friday through Monday as many students and their families evacuate. Officials were preparing for the possibility of converting school campuses into shelters and staging areas for the anticipated recovery effort.
Here’s how Hurricane Irma and Harvey have impacted students, by the numbers:
School closed for 2.8 million Florida public schoolchildren on Friday in the Sunshine State, home to some of the nation’s largest school districts, according to the Florida Education Department.
Class was canceled for at least 1.1 million students in Florida’s public colleges and universities.
Puerto Rico education officials closed all public schools Friday as Hurricane Irma menaced the island territory, meaning 410,000 Puerto Rican schoolchildren missed class Friday, according to 2014-2015 enrollment estimates from the National Center for Education Statistics.
The Houston Independent School District estimates the storm did $700 million in damage to its buildings, Superintendent Richard A. Carranza said Thursday. That represents about one-third of the district’s annual budget. The vast majority of its 216,000 students are set to return to class Monday.
More than 1 million Texas children live in the 58-county region where Gov. Greg Abbott (R) made a state disaster declaration. Some children will not return to school for some time.