PUERTO RICO – This island of 347,000 students could be without steady education for months because of the devastating effects that Hurricane Maria gave the island.
This US territory has been under trauma since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, whilst it was still recovering from Hurricane Irma just two weeks beforehand. The island is still without electricity, and will most likely be for months to come. On top of this, the roads are still dangerous to travel on — being completely engulfed by the debris. The damage has been estimated to cost $90 million to repair.
“What we want to do is open up schools so people have a place to get help,” Puerto Rico’s education secretary, Julia Keleher, had stated to the Washington Post. However, as of the writing of this article, there’s still no official timeline for when schools should be back up and running.
Puerto Rico already doesn’t have a great school system to begin with due to the island being mostly in poverty. The school system in Puerto Rico is one of the US’ largest (having 1,100 across the island), but also it’s one of the poorest school systems in the Nation.
In better news, Florida will take on Puerto Rican students in need, though people are worried about whether or not the state will provide extra funding to districts taking on these students. There’s no guarantee that all the districts will get the extra funding needed to take on thousands of Puerto Rican students. According to the Tampa Bay Times (linked above) they’ll need to take on 200 extra students in order to trigger any further funding, leading some to wonder what will happen if some schools take on just below that minimum number.
Unfortunately, just like with everything else involving Puerto Rico and the hurricane, things are up in the air and are extremely uncertain as of now.