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Eastern Kentucky school counselor worries about students' PTSD after floods

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Posted at 7:23 AM, Aug 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-23 07:23:53-04

WHITESBURG, Ky. (LEX 18) — Students in Letcher County may still be weeks away from entering a classroom as the district has not announced an official start date, but Amy Burns hopes it comes sooner than later.

"I think that kids do well with routine and normalcy," Burns said. "We're not there yet, but eventually we're going to have to push our way there."

Burns is a guidance counselor at Letcher Elementary & Middle School. She anticipates that many students may exhibit signs of post-traumatic stress disorder as they grapple with the aftermath of last month's floods.

"With little kids, it could be a trigger like rain," Burns said. "They might not feel well. They may be worried about their family if they're not with them. Or, they may be upset for no reason."

Burns is able to empathize with her students' pain.

"We had planned to go school shopping on Friday and then the flood happened Thursday," Burns recalled. "We were getting excited because we were hoping for a real normal year."

Like many people in Letcher County, Burns and her family lost a lot to the floods. She said her house's plumbing, electric, and HVAC system all need to be replaced. They received housing assistance from FEMA, but Burns said it won't cover much of the rebuilding process.

"[The past] three weeks feel like a year when you're dealing with this kind of thing," Burns said.