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School Closures Loom In Puerto Rico As Enrollment Shrinks After Maria

Gaspar Vila Mayans elementary school, in a low-income area in Puerto Rico’s capital of San Juan, was one of the lucky ones.

Most of the building escaped damage, and the school was able to reopen just two weeks after Hurricane Maria hit in late September.

Once it was back up and running, the school quickly became a lifeline for the community, providing meals, activities and a sense of normalcy to families and their children.

Now, it’s facing the possibility of closure for an entirely different reason – there aren’t enough students to fill up its classrooms.

“A lot of kids went to the United States, almost 50,” says Principal Rita Barreto. That’s about a quarter of the school’s students. And the school was already at less than half capacity before Maria.

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