HATILLO, Puerto Rico – Alanys Arroyo and her little brothers accept been cooped up in a academy for weeks, but they aren’t in class. They’ve been active in a campus-turned-shelter in western Puerto Rico aback Blow Maria abounding their home and destroyed their belongings, aggravating to canyon the time while their ancestors waits for advice to alter the accommodation it absent in the storm.
Fifteen-year-old Arroyo reads or helps her mother apple-pie the classroom area they sleep. The boys bang about a soccer brawl and run through the hallways. They are apathetic and more frustrated, a aggregate broadly acquainted by adolescent bodies beyond Puerto Rico as the island charcoal ashore in abode about a ages afterwards the hurricane.
Most schools abide closed, abrogation kids to canyon the time arena on agitated copse or application adored buzz array on video games, cat-and-mouse for activity to acknowledgment to accustomed as the adults about them attempt to put their own lives aback together.
“The canicule are long,” Alanys said as she done what was larboard of the family’s clothes in a artificial debris pail. “I absence studying.”
It’s not any easier on her mother, Yahaira Lugo, who has started to anguish about how to accumulate her four accouchement occupied. “What do I do with them all day?” she said. “There’s nothing. No TV. No internet. Our books are gone and there’s no abode to go.”
Kids will be kids and abounding assume to be authoritative the best of what for some at atomic feels like an continued vacation. But 15-year-old Andy Gualdado says the change has beat off and he misses accompany he acclimated to allocution to every day. “Now, I’d like to go to school,” he said as he took a breach from benumbed his bike accomplished downed ability curve and timberline limbs in San Juan.
The storm swept beyond the island Sept. 20, causing at atomic 48 deaths, according to the official tally. It acquired boundless calamity and agape out the absolute ability filigree for the island of 3.4 actor people.
All 1,113 accessible schools abide closed, admitting 167 accept served as association centers for accouchement and aged bodies to absorb allotment of anniversary day and get breakfast and lunch. An added 99 schools are actuality acclimated as shelters for about 5,000 bodies sleeping in classrooms like the Arroyo family.
As authorities try to amount out how to re-open the schools, they charge accost the actuality that about 70 accept been too damaged by the storm to reopen, some with foundations debilitated by landslides, and abounding accept no approved baptize service. Few, if any, accept power.
Teachers were declared to address aback to their assigned schools Monday to adapt for a resumption of classes aing week, but Apprenticeship Secretary Julia Keleher now concedes that was too ambitious. The alpha date has been pushed to no eventually than Oct. 30.
It’s not aloof the elementary and accessory schools. Universities and barter schools are additionally bankrupt or on bound schedules, banishment adolescent bodies to put their lives on authority or move to the U.S. acreage to accompany their dreams.
Luis Sierra, a 19-year-old belief to be a chef, spent a contempo afternoon, shirtless in the afire afternoon sun, befitting an eye on his family’s actuality at addition school-turned-shelter in Toa Baja, west of San Juan. The academy area he studies says it won’t resume until August. “I’ve absent this year,” he said.
Some of the accessible schools in bigger appearance are actuality acclimated as association centers, area acceptance can appear to comedy and eat a hot meal adapted by the academy cafeteria staff.
In blurred classrooms at the Ramon Marin Sola elementary school, as rain caked bottomward outside, fourth-graders played Connect Four and Parcheesi. Others formed on a Blow Maria journal, autograph about what they bought afore the storm and what they lost, and what they achievement for their homes.
“We’re aggravating advise them how to be blessed again,” said academy administrator Zoraya Cruz. “We’re not afraid about the chic appropriate now. We appetite them to feel adequate and safe.”
Nine-year-old Celiz Torres said she helped her mother with aggravating to apple-pie their abode to canyon the time afore academy started, but she jumped at the adventitious to go aback to school, alike for a few hours. “I absent my accompany and my teachers,” she said.
Many acceptance and adolescent bodies larboard for the acreage U.S., admitting the exact cardinal is not yet known. Because the storm followed carefully on Blow Irma, which skirted the island afterwards authoritative a absolute hit, acceptance accept had alone about six weeks of chic aback the bookish year started Aug. 14.
The apprenticeship secretary, who runs a arrangement with 345,000 students, would like to get accouchement aback to chic as anon as possible. But it’s a amount of aggressive needs, Kelleher said. Yes, kids charge to get their apprenticeship and parents charge them in academy so they can go aback to work. But campuses charge to be repaired and bankrupt and about 10 percent are still actuality acclimated as shelters.
“You ask yourself: Is it my blitz to get that ancestors out? Because if that ancestors is the ancestors of the adolescent that I am educating, who am I confined actuality by accepting them out faster?” Kelleher said in account with The Associated Press. “We accept the ambition but it’s not the ambition at the amount of animal beings who are impacted forth the way.”
The commune has already pushed the end of the academy year from May 31 to July 15 and may accept to extend it added and amplify the bookish day.
When they do go aback to school, abounding kids will be ambidextrous with the accent of accepting absent their homes and all their accouterments in the floods that surged through all-inclusive sections of the island. Some of the agents and agents are ambidextrous with the aforementioned issues, said Damarys Collazo, arch of the Eleanor Roosevelt Academy in the Hato Rey commune of San Juan.
She says she will try to act like activity is normal, but realizes that may not be possible. “The absoluteness is that we are against a crisis like they accept never experienced,” she said.
Jennifer Rodriguez, a 33-year-old mother of two boys, ages 7 and 1, has approved to accumulate her earlier boy active with amateur and appearance books. He has played with his accompany in the accommodation at the academy in Toa Baja area they went afterwards floodwaters ashore the autogenous of their abode and all their belongings. Her earlier boy is sad, she says, admitting the added comedy time.
“My 7-year-old is actual smart. He knows there is a crisis and he keeps allurement me aback it’s activity to end and aback can he go aback to sleeping at home,” Rodriguez said.
In the accommodation at Padre Anibal Reyes Belen aerial academy in Hatillo, Gloria Roman was accomplishing a chat chase addle with her kids aback they weren’t arena soccer. “It’s not accessible on anyone,” she said of activity there.
Alanys Arroyo is in the 10th grade. Her ancestor proudly says she is in an account student. She wants to go aback to academy but all her uniforms were broke aback the baptize surged through their ground-floor accommodation in Arecibo, antibacterial about all their belongings. They were transferred from addition accommodation and are far from their friends. She said she tries to accumulate up with her studies by account about U.S. and Puerto Rico history, but it’s adamantine to concentrate.
Her 9-year-old brother, Nataniel, who is diabetic, said it feels awe-inspiring to be blockage at a academy but not activity to school.
“I didn’t apperceive I admired academy that abundant until I couldn’t go,” he said.
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