Back-to-school traditions important in wake of Harvey

HOUSTON – Most students in the Houston Independent School District on Monday began their school year, two weeks after Hurricane Harvey ravaged southeast Texas.

Students were originally scheduled to begin school on Aug. 28, but flooding forced officials to push that start date for nearly 200 schools.

Some of those students are living in damaged or temporary homes, which adds a new layer of stress to the already nerve-racking first day of class.

Audrey Omensen, of the Nick Finnegan Counseling Center, said keeping those back-to-school traditions can help add a sense of normalcy for children.

“Trying to find a way to do some of those traditions now, even if the circumstances are dramatically different, and maybe this year you could set up a new tradition also,” Omensen said. “Maybe do one of your old ones and then start a new one this year, so you can also celebrate and find ways to make things being really different kind of fun and interesting.”

VIDEO: Superintendent, mayor discuss Harvey recovery

HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza visited some of the campuses Monday. He said that recovery will take time, but progress is being made.

Students in the remaining schools will begin their school year either Sept. 18 or Sept. 25. Teachers in schools that have not started yet will attend trauma training Monday, preparing them to help address students’ needs in Harvey’s wake.

Officials said they estimate flooding caused about $700 million worth of damage to HISD facilities.

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