HOUSTON - Many Houston ISD students are heading back to school on Monday following a delay due to Hurricane Harvey.
District press secretary Tracey Clemons told KHOU 11 News the superintendent's word for this school year is flexibility.
"We are starting the school year under circumstances that nobody could've ever imagined," Clemons said. "We have a lot of kids who are displaced. We have a lot of kids who are not living where their paperwork may say they were living."
Of the district's approximately 218,000 students, more than 15,000 of them were significantly impacted by the storm.
"The storm hit right before school started, so I mean, these kids had their school supplies ready. A lot of them probably had their backpacks ready to go, their uniforms, you know, picked out and ironed and ready to go, and then Harvey comes through and just wipes all of that out, for some of them," Clemons said.
Also, he said, nearly all of the district's more than 300 buildings were damaged in some way by Harvey. Two hundred and eighty-four of those are schools buildings, 220 of which are reopening Monday.
The remaining school campuses -- with the exception of a handful, which are damaged beyond reopening anytime soon -- are starting school on a rolling basis.
Because the storm damaged thousands of students' belongings, the district is relaxing its uniform policy through December.
"That doesn't mean you can come to school wearing a hat or come to school wearing shorts, you know, that expose yourself or anything," Clemons said. "That just means, you know, if you don't have uniforms, come to school with what you have, because we just want you in the seat so we can teach you."
On Sunday afternoon, volunteers with Radio One brought four semi-truck loads-worth of donated school supplies from Dallas to HISD's Delmar Fieldhouse.
"I've been here for a long time and I've never seen the community come together like this," Madd Hatta, of the Madd Hatta Morning Show on Radio One's 97.9 The Box, said. "I mean, look at it here, this is crazy."
Radio One organized the school donation drive across its Houston and Dallas stations.
"I think that's what we learned through Hurricane Harvey: the art of living, the art of loving another," Madd Hatta said. "I think if we see more of that, I hope that's what all these kids take out of it."
The district is still working on a plan to distribute all those supplies.
As for transportaion, METRO is offering free rides for students during the entire month of September. Parents escorting kids to school also ride free. Tap/click here for more information.
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