As Harvey continues to bring devastation to the Gulf Coast, the Texas Education Agency estimates more than 1 million students in the state’s public school system have been affected by the storm.
“Roughly 20 percent of our student population has been affected by Harvey,” Texas Education Agency spokeswoman Lauren Callahan told ABC News Wednesday. “This is absolutely an ongoing situation and our first and foremost priority is making sure everyone is safe.”
The TEA, which oversees the education of 5.3 million public school students, reports that 200 of the state’s 1,200 school districts have had some sort of closures this week.
Aransas County Independent School District, which includes schools in the hard-hit town of Rockport, announced Wednesday that schools in the district would be closed “indefinitely.”
The district serves 3,316 students, according to its website. A later statement from Superintendent Joseph Patek to clarify how long schools will be closed painted a stark picture of the area’s current conditions and road to recovery.
“We used this word because we are attempting to be as transparent as possible. We do not have a timeline for how long the recovery process will take,” Patek’s statement read. “We must first have drinkable water and power. After that, we must ensure our facilities are safe and then we will be able to allow teaching staff in the buildings to look at their needs for supplies.”
Students in Houston, the state’s largest city, where an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 homes have been destroyed, were supposed to start school on Monday.
Today, on the eve of what would have been the end of the first week of school, district officials have only been able to reach around 45 of the district’s nearly 300 campuses to assess the damage.
“We’re anticipating once the waters start receding, we’re going to be finding pretty extensive damage,” Houston Independent School District (ISD) Superintendent Richard A. Carranza told ABC News Wednesday, adding that water and roof damages and power outages have been found so far in the accessible campuses.
Houston’s school district is the…