Marie Vivas is the IB Americas Senior Development Manager. She has overall responsibility for university recognition in the Americas region, working closely with admissions professionals counseling university bound students.
I just spoke to Karen Phillips of the Texas IB Schools Association and to our former IB colleague, Ann Wink, about the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Southeast Texas. Karen and her team are still reaching out to IB schools in the affected area which includes the largest IB school district in the state. At this point school officials are just beginning to assess damages and many folks are still dealing with the ongoing flooding emergency. While Houston is receiving most of the press coverage, Karen reminded me that the disaster covers a much larger region.
Dallas will receive 5,000 evacuees from the hurricane-affected areas. The Dallas Independent School District is offering seats to the children in three DISD schools. Other school districts will likely take similar measures. We also know that schools are serving as shelters for people who had to leave their homes. We have no idea of the amount of damage to schools in the region or how long they will be closed.
The New York Times reported this morning: “More than 160 Texas public school districts and 30 charter schools were closed, according to an initial count. The upheaval threatened schools across the state, even ones unaffected by the storm itself, as families flee to San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and other cities with school systems already dealing with their own financial and academic challenges.”
I asked Karen how people can help in this time of great need. Her response was that if people want to take immediate action they can donate to the Red Cross or similar reputable organizations. More urgent needs such as drinking water, food, blankets, and clean clothing, of course, take precedence over everything else.
(Lamar High School IB student doing his best to help in a time of need)
Rain is scheduled to continue for at least another few days. Please send positive energy, thoughts and prayers to those affected.
I will stay in touch with Karen and Ann and update with any additional information from them.
Thanks to all who have reached out. We will do our best to keep you posted.