ArkLaTex schools enrolling Hurricane Ida evacuees

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 12:06 PM CDT
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(KSLA) - As of Monday, Sept. 13, it has been a little more than two weeks since the landfall of Category 4 Hurricane Ida. At least four ArkLaTex school districts have since enrolled young evacuees in their programs.

“I’ve been doing this for 38 and a half years and went through Katrina and Rita,” said Sabine Parish Superintendent Dr. Sara Ebarb. “What we’ve found is that when students are able to get back into school, start learning, be involved, and make some friends, it takes their mind off the situation. It’s much better for them if they can get back to a little bit of normalcy.”

Federal Programs Director Debra Lee says they have not enrolled as many students as with other major hurricanes, like Katrina and Rita, but plan to enroll more the week of Sept. 13.

“During Katrina and Rita, we had an abundance of displayed students, families,” Lee said. “With Ida, we’ve not had as many, but the needs are the same.”

She says the needs go beyond education.

“Not only are the academic needs important, but also the social, emotional needs of the students. They may have lost their homes; they’re moving to a new school. That’s traumatic enough without having to experience the hurricane or flooding. We try to look at all the needs,” Lee said.

Bossier and DeSoto Parish schools, as well as the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA), have also told KSLA they’ve enrolled students displaced by the storm.

“We’re neighbors, and we’re going to help however we can,” said LSMSA Executive Director Dr. Steve Horton. “The best way we know to do that is to offer students the best education possible, and to offer their families peace of mind in knowing their children have a safe and secure residence and a strong foundation for academic success.”

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