Among those impacted by the ongoing water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi, are the nearly 2,000 students who live on campus at Jackson State University.
Many students who moved into the historically Black university’s residence halls on August 18 returned home due to the lack of clean tap water and low water pressure, which made toilets and showers unusable in some cases.
Those who have remained on campus have had to rely on the distribution of water bottles and reserve water sources by the city and university for drinking, cooking, personal hygiene, and cooling. The university has also set up portable showers and toilets across campus.
Jackson State announced it would move all classes online until the issue is resolved. The lack of water and shift to virtual learning has been a source of frustration for numerous students on campus, CNN reports.
“It’s their frustration that I’m concerned about,” University President Thomas K. Hudson told CNN. “It’s the fact that this is interrupting their learning. So what we try to do is really focus on how we can best meet their needs.”
Although the water issues were caused by river flooding, they are part of a larger problem of the city long ignoring its aging infrastructure, according to Hudson and other education leaders in the community.
“This has been a break that has been waiting to happen and it’s a byproduct of an aging infrastructure and water system that’s badly needed repairs and requires major, major dollars to fix,” Hudson told NBC News. “That’s been known for a while, and we need to find a long-term fix here.”