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Mercedes Schneider teaches high school English in Louisiana. Here is her report on life after Hurricane Ida:
Hurricane Ida hit four days ago. I’m able to post this using my phone, which I can recharge by plugging into 200 feet of extension cord coming from my neighbors’ house. (They installed a generator that runs on natural gas just two weeks ago.) it’s 85 degrees in my house, but as a result of that generous extension cord offer, I have the luxury of an oscillating fan. My mother is staying with me, as are her five chicks hatched a few weeks ago. They are in a cage in my living room, with a light compliments of said extension cord.
School is “closed until further notice.” I found out from a woman kind enough to look up the school website on her phone, which was functional since the tower of her carrier made it through the storm. We were both waiting in line to enter the hardware store the day after Ida. Like most people, she was there to buy a generator. I needed batteries for numerous devices now of primary importance post-Ida’s-wrath-on-everything-electrical.
When COVID hit, it seemed that much of American ed, our district included, viewed online learning delivered via laptop as the solution, not only during a pandemic, but also as the solution for dodging any ills that might close school. However, remote education is heavily dependent upon infrastructure that can be destroyed in a moment by the likes of Ida— electricity is the biggie, with the (not really) wireless a near second.
Miles and miles of mangled poles, towers, and wires.
And no one is talking “learning loss.” But there sure is a lot of creative problem solving happening and loads of neighborly kindness.
Living through difficult situations is its own education. Seems like that ought to go without saying.