First CV-19, then Ida. Louisiana colleges face twin crises

Nichols, the University of New Orleans, and the University of Louisiana in southeast suffered severe damage between state colleges and universities as the storm moved northward along the Gulf Coast. All three were out of power and forced to cancel classes for weeks, and the state’s Louisiana State University was able to resume regular campus operations.

Together, the three tertiary schools serve about 30,000 students, but most are nomads. Fewer than five live on campus. So their recovery efforts are focused on repairing damaged roofs and clearing debris by mapping how thousands of students will continue their education in hurricane-affected communities.

When Nicoles surveyed students about their needs, only half responded. They may not have the power, internet access, or cell service they did not have in their inbox. Two-thirds of the respondents said that their homes were damaged and that a quarter of them did not have enough to eat.

While students and their families are sheltered together at home, often without hiding, where they can find a place, and the extent of the investigation is unknown within days, school officials are concerned about how widespread the Cov-19 storm may be. in the future.

“The students I spoke to were starving, worried about getting gas, trying to take care of their parents, and some of them had children of their own,” said Tyler Lennon, an MBA student who serves as Nicoles’ student. Body President. Until they are well, they will not be able to fight the virus.

Lidon’s home in Gibson, Ida, was torn down in the city, lost roofs and pieces of road, and his grandfather’s family home in Homa was destroyed, but he still wanted to finish the semester. Nicoles avoided the fall break, did it three days before Thanksgiving, and postponed the start of winter by a week, hoping to finish courses on time.

Reed, a regional higher education official, said it was important to keep students on the right track to graduate because the certificates they needed could help them in the event of a storm. “Once you have a sense of value, you will have stability and tolerance,” she said, expecting federal funding for student rehabilitation talks to begin in the coming weeks.

Garrett Graves, a representative of some of the worst-affected areas in Ida, said he wanted to treat students the right way and was in the region to quickly restore power and the Internet: two services successfully restart important education. But nearly 22,000 energy consumers are still unable to turn on their lights, and internet outages remain widespread after three weeks of the storm.

Graves told Policico: “We have been through small waves before, and we are going back and forth very fast. “This is a different time. In some areas, it may take months for them to reach their full potential.

Part of the problem is the number of utility poles under the wind. The states have brought in 25,000 line workers to repair and replace all damaged poles and power lines. John Nicklou, president of the University of New Orleans, said the state had agreed to park 3,000 utility vehicles around the school grounds and stop concert venues.

“Every college president or chancellor says it’s not a wild or disruptive year,” said Nicklou, who went on to study online last week.

He admits that some students find it difficult to focus on education without knowing where they live.

“Compassion is the word of the day,” says Nicklou. “Some students who come to class in person need to switch to a remote control. Others who lived outside the campus before the hurricane may now be looking for housing on campus.

John Crane, president of the University of Southeast Louisiana, said recovery from the storm would be “unbalanced” between students and staff. Ida’s eyes passed west of the campus, so people in the area were worse off than those in the east.

“When our campus is ready and most of our people are ready, I know some of them will never be able to return,” said Crane, who was powered by a generator for several days after the storm. .

Southeast Physical Education classes began Monday, and one of the major benefits of returning students to campus is the resilience of the school’s CV-19 vaccine clinic. The University took 4,000 units before Ida’s soft fall hopes fell short, and Crane hopes to make further progress in the coming weeks. But he knew it was a long order.

“When you have a difficult situation and two of you live at the same time, it doesn’t make any of them easy,” he said.

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