By: Associated Press
October 1, 2017
NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) -- School districts on the U.S. mainland are making plans to accommodate a possible influx of students from hurricane-battered Puerto Rico.
It's been a point of discussion especially in urban areas from Florida to Massachusetts, where Puerto Rican families are planning to open their homes to displaced relatives.
The districts are making plans to accommodate students with a unique set of needs. Some coming from the Caribbean island have limited English skills, some are already weeks behind because island schools have been closed since Hurricane Irma and others will be dealing with trauma from living through the storm and its aftermath.
In Holyoke, Massachusetts, 80 percent of the schoolchildren are Puerto Rican. Parents are being asked to let the district know if they plan to put up any school-age relatives.
Incoming Puerto Rican students displaced by Hurricane Maria can access free school meals through the National School Lunch Program. Federal laws allow students in households evacuating a designated disaster area access to free school meals.
In Florida, parents or guardians looking for additional information on the lunch program can contact the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 1-800-504-6609 or InfoFNW@FreshFromFlorida.com.