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The storm after the storm: the long-term lingering impacts of hurricanes on schools

Cassandra R. Davis (Public Policy, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA)
Sarah R. Cannon (Education Consultant, Washington, DC, USA)
Sarah C. Fuller (Public Policy, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 14 January 2021

Issue publication date: 8 July 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify and describe the long-term impacts of hurricanes on schools and discuss approaches to improving recovery efforts.

Design/methodology/approach

Interviews with 20 school districts in Texas and North Carolina after Hurricanes Harvey (2017) and Matthew (2016). In total, 115 interviews were conducted with teachers, principals, district superintendents and representatives from state education agencies. Interview questions focused on the impact of storms and strategies for recovery.

Findings

The authors uncovered three long-term impacts of hurricanes on schools: (1) constrained instructional time, (2) increased social-emotional needs and (3) the need to support educators.

Research limitations/implications

This paper focuses on two storms, in two states, in two successive years. Data collection occurred in Texas, one academic year after the storm. As compared to the North Carolina, data collection occurred almost two academic years after the storm.

Practical implications

This paper illuminates strategies for stakeholders to implement and expedite hurricane recovery through; (1) updating curricula plans, (2) providing long-term counselors and (3) supporting educators in and out of school.

Originality/value

To date, very few studies have explored the ways in which schools face long-term impacts following a disaster. This paper provides insight to the challenges that prolong the impacts of disasters and impede recovery in schools. With hurricanes and related disasters continuing to affect schooling communities, more research is needed to identify the best ways to support schools, months to years after an event.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the National Science Foundation - Reference number 1760584.This paper forms part of a special section “Disasters, Children and Comprehensive School Safety”, guest edited by Ziqiang Han, Marla Petal, and Qiang Zhang.

Citation

Davis, C.R., Cannon, S.R. and Fuller, S.C. (2021), "The storm after the storm: the long-term lingering impacts of hurricanes on schools", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 264-278. https://doi.org/10.1108/DPM-03-2020-0055

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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