Several Louisiana school systems, colleges, and universities are stepping up to help students that were affected by the detrimental impact of Hurricane Ida, according to several articles from the Acadiana Advocate.
On August 29th Hurricane Ida had made its way to the southern Louisiana Coast through Port Fourchon before it headed through northeast Louisiana leaving much destruction in its wake. When this occurred most Louisiana public school systems and universities had just started the new school year earlier that month.
As a result, many schools were badly affected by the storm, and hundreds of students had evacuated across the state, but thanks to the generous spirit of several Louisiana Universities and school districts that weren’t as significantly impacted by Hurricane Ida, those displaced students will be welcomed into a new school or college with open arms.
For instance, on the Wednesday following the storm, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette had welcomed 61 student evacuees from the University of New Orleans. These students will be staying in on-campus housing and be able to utilize student facilities such as the University’s computer labs, science labs, food services, and gymnasiums. In addition to the UNO students, ULL’s campus also opened its doors, gyms, and facilities to student-athletes from McNeese so that they can continue to practice for the fall season.
These students enrolling at ULL are resident students at UNO, and they will continue to take their courses virtually while utilizing the atmosphere, resources, and facilities at UL Lafayette. The UL Lafayette Dean of Students Margarita Perez commented on the situation saying, “We were fortunate we did not see any impacts from Hurricane Ida. UL Lafayette will accommodate the visitors for “as long as it takes.”
In Northern Louisiana, the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA) in Natchitoches reopened its admissions process mid-semester in order to support and accommodate families and students who were impacted by Hurricane Ida and had to evacuate South Louisiana. Students enrolling into LSMSA will receive supplies and tuition assistance from donations made to the LSMSA Foundation.
LSMSA’s executive director Dr. Steve Horton said of this opportunity, “we want to encourage families to apply regardless of any cost concerns. We are fortunate to have generous donors who know the value of a Louisiana School education and who prioritize helping families — most recently, those affected by Hurricanes Laura and Delta. We can’t rebuild houses, but we can offer students the best education possible, and we can offer their families the peace of mind in knowing their children have a safe and secure residence and a strong foundation for academic success.”
Other than colleges and universities, public school students displaced by Hurricane Ida were able to enroll in school districts across the state. For instance the Lafayette Parish School System organized an opportunity for displaced families to look into enrolling their child at one of the many schools in the district. The enrollment event was a week-long orchestration with LPSS staff members assessing students’ levels of education, importing grades from their previous district, and getting them acclimated to their new learning environment.
Students and families who arrived at the LPSS Vermillion Conference Center to see about the enrollment opportunity were assisted by members of the district’s displaced and homeless education services team. Members of this team were on staff to assist students in receiving uniforms and school supplies as well as locating any necessary documents for enrollment like birth certificates, social security information, and vaccination records. Specific support teams like this help to make the transition and assimilation process as seemless a possible, which further assists families in such tough times.
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