Houston students start classes that were delayed by Harvey

HOUSTON (AP) — Students in Houston on their first day of classes following city-wide flooding from Harvey were greeted Monday with hugs from teachers and staff, many coming from school secretary Demitra Cain.

The longtime school district employee said she had probably given out at least 200 hugs as she stood outside Codwell Elementary and greeted students and parents as they began the new school year, which was delayed by two weeks due to Harvey.

Students “are excited to be back. Parents are excited to get students out of the house, to get them back to something normal, to be with their friends,” Cain said.

Students at 268 of the Houston school district’s 284 campuses started classes on Monday. Houston has the nation’s seventh-largest school system, with about 215,000 students.

Some of the students who returned to school on Monday included many of the less than 1,500 students who remain at shelters because their homes and apartments were flooded. The district bused these students from shelters to their campuses, officials said.

The remaining campuses will start classes on Tuesday, Sept. 18 and Sept. 25 due to ongoing clean up and repairs from Harvey, which last month dumped more than 50 inches of rain in some areas around Houston.

None of the district’s more than 300 schools and facilities escaped without some impact from the tropical storm, said Superintendent Richard Carranza. The district estimates Harvey caused at least $700 million in damage to schools and other buildings as well as other costs.

Nine campuses were so severely damaged that their students will have to be temporarily relocated to vacant district buildings or transferred to nearby schools and three of these campuses likely will be closed for repairs the entire school year. These nine campuses served about 6,500 students last year.

“We are working hard to make sure that we’re going to be as normal as normal can be, given the circumstance. We know the quicker we can get students into a routine, it allows mom and dad to get into a routine. It allows the healing to begin,” Carranza said.

San Marcos Daily Record

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