The impact of natural disasters on school closure
Despite the fact that natural disasters have always existed, the number and intensity of natural disasters have increased. Progress has been made in preparing for natural disasters, but the consequences are still severe. This study takes on the task of identifying the features that make schools more vulnerable to natural disasters. Using a simple OLS (N=387). The study analyses the effect of natural disasters on school closures. Using six different disasters as our study area, we capture different demographic and socioeconomic features of a school impacted by natural disaster at different geographic levels: the individual school, the school district, and the Public Use Microdata Area (PUMA). The regression results show that factors such as increased disaster severity, higher levels of poverty, and larger numbers of at-risk individuals within a puma have significant positive associations with an increase in the number of days a school closes. At a practical level, understanding the impact of a disaster on school closure can depend on multiple factors and is important for local, state and federal governments. Policies must be implemented by local communities throughout the nation to increase community resilience. By understanding vulnerability factors adequately, their impact on school closure can be mitigated by increasing appropriate preparedness, efficient recovery strategies, evacuation strategies, and interpersonal awareness. Climate change and its effects, present and future, is a major concern for the whole world. Our efforts to understand and seek solutions to prevent and limit the damages rendered by natural disasters are critical to an effort to reduce the impacts of climate change in the U.S. and other affected countries.