Two Louisiana school districts are planning to use some of their school buses to help evacuate residents during Tropical Storm Barry this weekend.
On Thursday, Lafayette Parish School System deployed 19 of its school buses in six locations across Lafayette Parish to provide emergency transportation, according to The Daily Advertiser.
Jennifer Gardner, chief administrative officer for Lafayette Parish School System, told the newspaper that if the storm causes flooding in the parish, residents rescued by high-water vehicles will be brought to one of the school buses and will be driven to a designated staging area nearby.
The district is also offering two of its buildings — the Carencro High School gym in Lafayette and Ernest Gallet Elementary School cafeteria in Youngsville — to be staging areas for evacuees to get resources and connect with family members, The Daily Advertiser reports.
Meanwhile, in Marksville, Avoyelles Parish School Board’s transportation department has also volunteered to evacuate residents ahead of the tropical storm, according to a post on the district’s Facebook page.
On Thursday, Avoyelles Parish School Board sent about 26 of its school buses to south Louisiana, Avoyelles Today reports.
Steve Marcotte, the maintenance supervisor for the district, told the newspaper that local school bus drivers were enlisted to drive the buses from the district’s facilities in Marksville.
The efforts of both Lafayette and Avoyelles Parish School Board came after Gov. John Bel Edwards declared of a state of emergency for all of Louisiana on Wednesday.
Gov. Edwards said in a news release that "This is going to be a Louisiana event with coastal flooding and widespread, heavy rainfall potentially impacting every part of the state. No one should take this storm lightly. As we know all too well in Louisiana, low intensity does not necessarily mean low impact.”
He added that he expects multiple parishes to declare states of emergency, and that he is ready to assist local partners with all available resources.
View photos of Avoyelles Parish School System evacuation efforts, posted on the district's Facebook page, below.