COMBS, flooding in kentucky. — Robin Combs, a math teacher for over three decades, relies on muscle memory to guide her as she tries to find the right lesson plans. She is confident in her ability to teach middle school students what works and how to best reach them.
Robinson Elementary School was flooded last month and the roof fell on Combs’ classroom. Three decades worth of curriculum materials also were destroyed.
flooding in Kentucky Like many of her colleagues, Ms. Combs is now starting again. She was one of a few teachers who helped to clean out an old elementary school. This will now be home for teachers and students affected by the floods.
Even though her family was without running water for just one day over three weeks, her focus was on making sure her school reopened by September.
Ms. Combs stated that she wanted her children back together, and that they should be able to spend eight hours each day being normal. They’re cool. They’ve got a place, they have food. “I don’t need to worry for eight hours per day.”
After two years of classes being cut short by the coronavirus pandemic, this school year was supposed be the beginning of a new normal. Teachers and students were forced online for a while.
Just as teachers and custodians were finishing polishing the tiles and teachers started laying the new supplies, floodwaters swept through eastern Kentucky.
They swept away Chromebooks and covered decades of class photos in mud and mildew. There were at least 39 deaths in the floods. This includes a few children, and a beloved school custodian.
Perry County, where Ms. Combs lives, was one of the most severely affected communities. A month later, eastern Kentucky’s roadsides are still littered with debris, tree limbs, and siding from houses that have been damaged.
Residents are taking down damaged buildings and cleaning up the stench from the floodwaters. Some areas of the affected area still have to boil water, or they are without reliable electricity or internet.
Officials and volunteers continue to struggle to reach missing residents in narrow mountain valleys, where the only road which allowed them into the area has been closed or washed away.
Last week, Governor. Andy Beshear, along with state legislators, announced plans to allocate $212.7 millions to the region in the next six-months. This includes $40 million for repairs to academic buildings, transportation of displaced students, and support for their families.
Schools in the region have been especially important for recovery, as they have served to anchor these mountain communities during the decline of the coal mining industry.
Despite the drop in student population, school districts remain the largest employers in the area. Perry County has a staggering 83 percent student population that is eligible for free or reduced price lunch.
More than 470 students are homeless. School staff often provide food, medical checkups, clothing, and other support to students.
Communities have rallied around schools
Communities have rallied around schools as teachers have received calls from former students and their kids offering to help. Students from the current class have helped to deliver food, clean up mud and repair furniture. Officials from Kentucky and Tennessee have reached out to flood survivors and those who were affected by the tornadoes last winter.
Reversing course: The Netherlands, which has been shaped over the centuries by its abundance of water, now faces drought. The population of the Netherlands is trying to find a way to safety.
Drying out: The Mississippi River, well-known for its immense reach and powerful currents has dried up to levels not seen since decades. This has clogged shipping lanes and threatened drinking water supplies.
New research shows that smoke pollution has increased
New research shows that smoke pollution has increased in the West over the past decade. flooding in Kentucky This could reverse decades of improvements in Western air quality under the Clean Air Act.
Twenty-five schools districts were affected by floods. More than a dozen buildings were severely damaged and unfit for classes. Robinson Elementary, where Ms. Combs is a teacher, could be replaced for as little as $25 million.
Many of the affected districts have plans to begin classes in September or later into fall. There is always improvisation. Chasity Short, a Perry County third-grade teacher, will be working out of a renovated girls’ locker room.
“As long the people are kept together we don’t care,” Ms. Short stated, as she applied white paint to a bookhelf she had rescued from a dumpster. She said, “We’ll learn out of any place.”
flooding in Kentucky Teachers have asked state officials and administrators to stop schools being split up, but this may not always be possible.
Robinson Elementary was relocated by Mr. Jett. Buckhorn was also moved to an empty elementary school that was left vacant after schools were consolidated.
However, other superintendents still struggled to find a place to accommodate their students. Repairing and replacing damaged buildings will take many years.
Staff members are still unsure of how to restructure bus routes, as some roads are impassible and some districts span over four miles.
Teachers and other school staff also expressed concern about their ability meet the emotional trauma and exacerbated needs of students whose homes had been destroyed. They are worried about schools already small losing more students and teachers, and not knowing what will happen if the outside help stops.
Jamie Fugate, principal of Robinson Elementary
Jamie Fugate, principal of Robinson Elementary, said, “We can do with this, however, not in the long-term.” He stood in the empty space that will be his office in the newly renovated school. After Labor Day, classes will begin on Sept. 6.
Some teachers have held outdoor gatherings in order to cheer up their students and get a glimpse at them, even though they have been affected by flood damage. One elementary school held a drive-thru event where teachers handed out bags containing toothbrushes and toothpaste, chips, and toys.
Students themselves are keen to return.
Charlie Boggs was 11 years old when he started fifth grade at Martha Jane Potter Elementary School, just outside Whitesburg. He “hoped it would be like a movie”. He imagined the fame and fortune that would come from playing for the Pirates football team in the iconic gold helmet. flooding in kentucky The school was one of the flooded schools, so it was not clear when classes would resume.
He said that it was “special in a bad manner”, noting that the floods were the result of years of hard work and pandemic education. He stopped, and then said, “At least you’ll have great stories.”
Charlie’s mother Tara Boggs is the sixth-grade teacher of language arts at Fleming Neon Middle School, Neon, Ky.
“I hate it, I hate that some kids will never be the same again,” Ms. Boggs stated. She said that the roots are deeper than floodwaters and can be washed away.
Officials at Letcher County Central High School debated whether or not to host the first home Friday night football game for the season on August 19. Although the school was spared most of the damage, it had become a distribution centre for donations. The football camp was cancelled, meaning that there was no time for cheerleading, and pads were not available.
After consulting with the players officials decided to proceed, in the hope of giving the community a diversion.
Junior Matthews, the coach of the team, said, “It’s silly but a football Friday evening, that’s what we needed.”
Two coaches and nine players had been in homes that were flooded. However, many of them had joined relief efforts by helping out the flood victims.flooding in kentucky They practiced and did volunteer work in the days leading up to the game.
Quentin Williams (16), a sophomore, was one of those players. He goes by Q and has been a tireless worker at the school distribution centre, moving boxes to people’s cars, and helping with recovery.
“I felt terrible just sitting in the house. He said it felt good to help people who are unable to help themselves on a recent afternoon as he sat at a Mexican restaurant with his family for a post-church lunch.
The storm had whipped the teen out of worship earlier in the morning, and he knew that the storm would shake his cousin, a 6-year-old boy at the children’s church next door.
Kristi Williams, Q’s mom, is now living with her relatives. She spent the days prior to the game searching for copies of important paperwork that had been damaged by the flood. She also grieved the loss of the house she worked so hard to get and the place she raised her children.
On Friday, she was one of the tailgating mothers outside with Dollar Store decorations to match the tropical theme chosen by student fans. As Q ran through the inflatable tunnel, Q cried and she prayed on the sidelines. She thought about how all the awards and trophies he had won had been lost, and how he was starting again.
Ms. Williams stated that she was glad Q and the rest on his team got to play.
She said, “Just to be able to see him not in mud and carrying water.” He can do the things he loves.
People in the crowd became visibly anxious when lightning or rain caused a delay and began to fidget in their seats. Band directors hustled students into the band.
The Letcher County Central Cougars scored after the game was resuming. They overcome a double-digit deficit against Shelby Valley Wildcats. After returning an interception for touchdown, they won 52-48. The crowd cheered.
Matthews stated, “I don’t know if it could be better scripted.”