Hurricane Ian closes some Florida schools indefinitely

Oct 4, 2022, 2:45 PM | Updated: Oct 5, 2022, 3:10 am
FILE - Residents who rode out the storm arrive at a dock to evacuate by boat in the aftermath of Hu...

FILE - Residents who rode out the storm arrive at a dock to evacuate by boat in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Florida's Pine Island, in Lee County, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. The only bridge to the island is heavily damaged so it can only be reached by boat or air. The devastation from Hurricane Ian has left schools shuttered indefinitely in parts of Florida, leaving storm-weary families anxious for word on when and how children can get back to classrooms. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

              FILE - Boats operated by resident good Samaritans help evacuate residents who stayed behind on Pine Island, in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Matlacha Fla., Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. The only bridge to the island is heavily damaged so it can only be reached by boat or air. The devastation from Hurricane Ian has left schools shuttered indefinitely in parts of Florida, leaving storm-weary families anxious for word on when and how children can get back to classrooms. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
            
              FILE - Yolanda Rios, left, holds her grandchildren Ava, 7, and Giovanni, 5, as as they are evacuated by airboat through floodwaters along the Peace River, to get to a hospital for medical care, in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Arcadia, Fla., Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. The devastation from Hurricane Ian has left schools shuttered indefinitely in parts of Florida, leaving storm-weary families anxious for word on when and how children can get back to classrooms. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
            
              FILE - Residents who rode out the storm arrive at a dock to evacuate by boat in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Florida's Pine Island, in Lee County, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022. The only bridge to the island is heavily damaged so it can only be reached by boat or air. The devastation from Hurricane Ian has left schools shuttered indefinitely in parts of Florida, leaving storm-weary families anxious for word on when and how children can get back to classrooms. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

The devastation from Hurricane Ian has left schools shuttered indefinitely in parts of Florida, leaving storm-weary families anxious for word on when and how children can get back to classrooms.

As rescue and recovery operations continue in the storm’s aftermath, several school systems in hard-hit counties in southwestern Florida can’t say for sure when they’ll reopen. Some schools are without power and still assessing the damage, as well as the impact on staff members who may have lost homes or can’t return to work.

Shuttered schools can worsen the hurricane’s disruption for children. Recovery from natural disasters elsewhere suggests the effects on kids can be lasting, particularly in low-income communities that have a harder time bouncing back.

“In a week or two, we’ll have forgotten about Hurricane Ian. But these districts and schools and students will be struggling months and years later,” said Cassandra R. Davis, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina.

In Florida, 68 of 75 school districts are open for in-person instruction, and two more districts are expected to reopen this week, the state Department of Education said Tuesday. Among those still closed is Sarasota, where nearly half of students qualify for free and reduced-price lunch, an indicator of poverty.

Abbie Tarr Trembley, a mother of four in Sarasota, said her youngest, a 9-year-old boy, asks each morning when he can go back to school.

“Every morning he’s like, ‘Mom, is it a school day? Is it a school day?'” she said. “Every morning, I’m almost in tears.”

The hurricane damaged the roof of her house, and the family lost power for three days. She was grateful to be spared worse. But she has begun to worry about the effects on her children and their education. Her son already repeated first grade to help him catch up from the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Online learning recently has been an option for schools dealing with disasters from the coronavirus pandemic to hurricanes, but researchers have said overreliance on remote education is not sustainable.

Davis has studied how Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Florence in 2018 impacted student learning in the southeastern U.S. She said research shows elementary students continued to fall behind academically, as much as two years after a storm. But districts where parents are affluent and school budgets are healthy tend to recover more quickly.

Sarasota County school officials say they hope to reopen schools for some of their 45,000 students on Monday. School leaders are aiming to reopen buildings in the northern part of the county, which suffered less damage compared to the schools in the south.

In the meantime, students can use online resources students if they have access to the internet, Sarasota school officials said at a news conference. Florida’s education department did not respond to questions about its guidance to local school systems for addressing the missed school days.

Sarasota workers are ripping out and replacing carpets and drywall where water breached school buildings and discarding spoiled cafeteria food that went unrefrigerated in the days without electricity. For now, school officials said, standing water makes some streets unsafe for students and families to navigate. School leaders are also assessing which teachers and other staff won’t be able to return to work when schools reopen.

Two schools in the county have served as shelters for displaced residents and will close on Friday to give workers time to clean them before reopening Monday.

Schools in the southern part of the county will take “at least another week to reopen,” Superintendent Brennan Asplen told reporters Tuesday.

Trembley has heard rumors that when schools do start back up, it will be online. She hopes that is not the case. “There’s no way that I can assist a 9-year-old with schoolwork and continue my job,” said Trembley, who works at a general contractor’s office.

After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, some students faced displacement for a long time, up to five to six months until they were resettled, according to a study. There was a drop in test scores in that first year. “Not only do they have to move their home, but they’re even out of school for some time,” explained Bruce Sacerdote, a economist at Dartmouth College.

Sacerdote compared regions that are harder hit by Ian to a “mini-Katrina” and said students in the places where the hurricane did the most damage will likely see severe effects in the first year, especially if they are fully displaced and must move to another town or state.

“COVID was also a really severe disruption and imposed learning losses on these kids already,” he said. “It’s a double whammy for a lot of these kids. …

“Remote (learning) is better than nothing,” he said, “but it’s nowhere near as good as in person.”

___

For more hurricane coverage, visit: https://apnews.com/hub/hurricanes

___

Associated Press writers Brooke Schultz in Harrisburg, Pa., and Michael Melia in Hartford, Conn., contributed to this report. Schultz is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

___

The Associated Press education team receives support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

murders...
Associated Press

Appeals court upholds most Eyman campaign finance violations

A Washington state Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld most of the campaign finance violations that longtime anti-tax initiative promoter Tim Eyman was found liable for last year.
10 hours ago
A Washington State Department of Agriculture worker displays an Asian giant hornet taken from a nes...
Associated Press

No northern giant hornets found in 2022 in Washington state

Citizen trapping of northern giant hornets in northwest Washington ended Nov. 30 without any confirmed sightings of the hornets this year, state officials said Tuesday.
10 hours ago
Associated Press

Fired state TV chief’s World Bank job shocks many in Poland

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The former head of Poland’s state broadcaster said Wednesday that he now has a job at the World Bank, spurring disbelief in the European Union country where he is known for turning the news channel into a propaganda tool for the right-wing government. Kurski, who has no finance experience, said on […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Clean energy grant fraud results in 7 year prison sentence

BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts man who participated in a scheme to defraud the U.S. government out of about $50 million in tax-free grants intended to fund clean energy projects has been sentenced to seven years in prison, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. Christopher N. Condron, 50, was also sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in […]
1 day ago
Ivan Safronov, an adviser to the director of Russia's state space corporation is seen on a TV scree...
Associated Press

Russian court upholds ex-reporter’s 22-year treason sentence

MOSCOW (AP) — A court in the Russian capital on Wednesday rejected an appeal from a former journalist who was convicted of treason and given a 22-year prison sentence following what was widely seen as a politically motivated trial. The appeals court upheld the September sentence handed to Ivan Safronov, who worked as a military […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

7 killed in continued shootings in Mexican border city

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Seven people were killed in a shootout between the army and suspected drug cartel gunmen in the northern Mexico border city of Nuevo Laredo Wednesday. The shootings were the second time in as many weeks that large-scale violence has hit Nuevo Laredo, across the border from Laredo, Texas. Police in the […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Hurricane Ian closes some Florida schools indefinitely