The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey is delaying the start of school for many Texas students – though some are starting classes on schedule.
Pearland ISD began Tuesday, though flooding did impact the area.
“One reason we wanted to do that is so we could put our eyes on our kids, and assess the needs they have – both students and faculty,” said Kim Hocott, district spokesperson.
Hocott said counselors were on hand in the buildings for those that are struggling, and the district also hosted a free "community closet" to supply clothes for students that lost theirs.
“There’s a lot of hurt in our community, a lot of pain,” said Hocott.
The district was relatively fortunate – its buildings suffered only minor damage. Others weren’t so lucky. Hard-hit Houston ISD delayed classes until Sept. 11, along with Katy, Clear Creek and Pasadena.
“Gov. Greg Abbott’s disaster declaration encompasses 58 counties,” said Texas Education Agency (TEA) commissioner Mike Morath. “More than one million students attend the Texas public schools in these counties.”
But if you live in a district that is operating and can’t attend because of the storm, don’t worry. According to the TEA evacuated students have a "reasonable amount of time" to decide if they’ll continue in their current district after a disaster. In the meantime, the state will waive any truancy charges.
The TEA adds that any student staying with friends, family, relatives or in a shelter qualifies as homeless for educational purposes, and is entitled to immediately enroll in the district where they are staying.
It’s one of the reasons districts like Pearland are opening their doors to displaced families.
“Absolutely,” said Hocott. “Any student and their family that have been displaced are welcome to come to Pearland ISD. We will welcome them with open arms. We want to cut through the bureaucracy of enrollment as fast we can so we can get them back into our schools.”
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