This Reflections column was emailed to members on Sept. 3, 2021
I would like to extend my heartfelt thoughts and support as New Jersey continues to reel from severe flooding in the wake of Hurricane Ida’s destructive remnants and significant tornado damage.
Before the catastrophic storm hit on Sept. 1, I know many of you were actively working with your school administrators as they prepared to start the new school year.
Tornados, record-breaking rainfall and high winds have been followed by surging waterways, sirens, disabled vehicles, buzzing generators, and communities trying to clean up after the storm. Now, many of you are left with power outages, school closures and delays, and extensive damage to your homes, community infrastructure, and school buildings and grounds.
All of this during a historic pandemic.
It can be easy to lose hope amid the shocking images and news concerning the loss of life and cresting rivers. And, in the coming days, the stress may build while assessing the severity of damage and uncertainty.
It is natural to wonder, how much more can we all take?
I know that you have the ability, experience and fortitude to power through this difficult time. As we know, even the most intense storms do not last forever. As the sun shines again, it brings out the best in people to help each other find hope and gratitude.
To those of you who have been fortunate to be spared, I urge you to reach out to your peers and affected districts and offer your encouragement and support. I applaud those schools that have opened their doors to serve as emergency shelters for their community.
As hurricane season continues, I encourage you to review your district’s emergency preparedness plans and refer to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) New Jersey resources. If you need additional assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the NJSBA staff.
These are my Reflections. I look forward to hearing yours. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.