Today was the first day back to class for both students and teachers since Hurricane Ike struck the area two weeks ago, at least in our town. Some places started a few days ago, while others still can not return to the routine of school. There were mixed feelings about being back, on both the teacher and the student side of things. Glad because it's a sign that things are getting back to normal, sad because the break was kind of nice (once the terror was over anyway). The unexpected time off is much harder to return from because of all the uncertainty involved. There is no way to get yourself mentally ready for the return, because you aren't sure when that will be. Not to mention, many of the teachers have many repairs waiting for them at home and young children to worry about. A number of daycares don't have power and are not open yet, so parents are having difficulty returning to their jobs since they have no one to watch their children.
The older school buildings fared better overall. Our building had some water leak in from the internal courtyard areas, causing minor flooding in some of the hallways. The worst spot was the library, since it is right by the large courtyard next to the cafeteria. The carpet had to be ripped out, but none of the books were truly ruined. A few minor cases of mildew. The bookcases, which have been there for at least 20 years, got some water damage on the bottom. They are plywood and will probably have to be replaced, as they are trying to split now. Any roof damage that we sustained is so minor that it won't be visible until the next good rain (except on the new gym). One of the brand new junior highs lost enough of its roof to lose the use of 21 classrooms, these classes are going to be meeting in the halls, etc. until the rooms can be fixed.
Today and tomorrow, while teaching content, we are letting the students vent about their experiences during Ike. Today was mostly talk about what they went through. Tomorrow, in my class at least, we will be trying to come up with solutions to the problems caused by hurricanes.
In our town, 25% still do not have power. They are saying, as of this morning, that it will be November before 100% of the area has power back. In Galveston, it may be even longer. They are getting debris from Galveston in Corpus Christi, they know it's from Galveston because it's things like personal computers and such that can be traced back to the owners. For those of you not familiar with the area, I'm including this map to show the distance between the two cities. Sadly, I couldn't find one with a scale on it, but the latitude and longitude should help give an idea of the distance. Some of the houses on Galveston island were so completely destroyed, not even the foundation remains.
I'd like to thank, on behalf of our whole community, all the police men, electrical workers, phone men, tree cutters, and everyone else from other states and countries that have come down here to help us. It is really appreciated, even if we do not say thank you to your face. I truly hope that you never need us to return the favor.