72,000 Louisiana students remain out of school post-Ida

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72,000 Southeast Louisiana students remain out of school just under a month since Hurricane Ida made landfall. That’s according to State Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley who revealed the number Tuesday at a State Senate Education Committee meeting.

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Brumley said despite a setback that kept them from getting down to 65,000 kids out of school as of Tuesday he’s happy with the progress they’ve made getting most back in class. He said Louisiana students have endured an incredibly difficult last year and a half, and it’s challenging efforts to catch us up with the rest of the nation.

“I too would like to get back to our reading revival, but it seems like every time we launch a worthwhile initiative we get struck with a new disaster,” said Brumley who added that they don’t have an estimate yet as to how much damage Southeast Louisiana schools sustained.

Most of the 72,000 come from the hardest hit Bayou and River Parishes. Parishes like St. Charles where all schools remain empty

Superintendent of St. Charles Parish Public Schools Ken Oertling told the committee “Hurricane Ida was the most tragic and impactful event that St. Charles Parish ever experienced.”

Oertling said every single school building in the parish was either damaged or destroyed, and their students are scattered with half of them not living in St. Charles Parish.

“21 percent of students are living in a temporary residence out of state and 23.7 percent are living in a temporary residence outside of St. Charles but still in Louisiana,” said Oertling.

Remote learning is not an option for thousands of students with limited or no internet across that parish.

“They are looking for their primary needs, they are looking for where they are getting their next meal, do they have an air-conditioned house? Do they have internet? None of that, we have no internet,” said Oertling.