Alice Fothergill, associate professor of sociology at UVM, has worked in the disaster sociology field since 1994 when she started work at the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado. She was recently interviewed for stories in the Huffington Post and The New York Times, exploring the difficulties schoolchildren typically face in the aftermath of disasters like hurricanes Irma and Harvey. 

In the Huffington Post article, Fothergill says Houston students who stay in the city will likely face the difficulties of rebuilding and reestablishing a school district. She predicts that Houston teachers and staff will face losses and rebuilding, complicating the process of sending students back to school. Meanwhile, many students will be living in shelters.

"In the aftermath of disasters it is important for host schools to provide support and resources, including services like school social workers and counselors. The researchers also suggested that host schools help accommodate displaced students by waiving school uniform fees and being flexible with requirements for proof of immunization, two barriers that can hinder parents from re-enrolling their children in a new school after a disaster."

Fothergill is author of Children of Katrina, which examines the experiences of children and youth in Hurricane Katrina and how their lives unfolded in the catastrophe and displacement. 


Kevin C. Coburn