It’s been over 40 days since Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico and in that time, swaths of people have fled the island 70 percent which is still without power. New York, Texas, and Florida have all seen hundreds of families pour in, swelling school districts. Orlando, for example, has seen 58,000 people from Puerto Rico come into the city and 4,300 children from the
island have enrolled in Miami’s schools since the hurricane, reports PBS. All of this means a teacher shortage with the growing number of students and school districts are eager to hire Puerto Rican educators who have left the island.
So far, 119 of Puerto Rico’s schools have reopened, but it could be months more before the island’s remaining schools open if some even reopen at all. For Puerto Rican teachers like Sylvia Mejias, an expectant mother, putting her life back together means getting back to teaching, even if that means leaving Puerto Rico behind. “I told my husband, ‘We have to move because I’m pregnant,’” Mejias told WTSP. Mejias and her husband moved to Lakeland, Florida where they have family and she recently took a position teaching special education at an elementary school. “I think that things are getting better,” she said. The school district was quick to hire Mejias to help fill its 48 teaching positions and because some Puerto Rican teaching certificates transfer over to Florida.