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Connecticut Schools Preparing For Puerto Rican Earthquake Survivors

Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public Radio
State schools could be taking in evacuees from Puerto Rico just as they did in 2017 when 2,281 displaced students enrolled in Connecticut's public schools, including about 40 new schoolchildren at Sanchez Elementary in Hartford.

Connecticut’s Department of Education said it’s ready to help school districts take in Puerto Rican students evacuated from the island because of recent earthquakes.

The quakes have rattled the island since late December, causing what the Washington Post reports is $110 million in damage.

When Hurricane Maria hit the island in 2017, thousands of evacuees came to Connecticut, including 2,281 students.

“I don’t believe the numbers will even come close to the numbers of students that came after Hurricane Maria, but it does send a message that we’re able to meet the needs of the students, and secondly, make sure that the state Department of Education is positioned to support the districts that are receiving students,” said Miguel Cardona, Connecticut’s Department of Education commissioner.

If schools need money for taking on extra students, Cardona says his department would work with the state and federal government to compensate the districts impacted the most.

“If there is impact aid allotted to this, it would be similar to the hurricane where we identify the communities that took in the most students and we’d try to support [them], but until that happens we don’t have a plan on that,” Cardona said. “Our staff is ready to assist in any way to help.”

More than a year after Hurricane Maria, school districts in Connecticut that took in evacuees received a total of $10.6 million in federal aid from the U.S. Department of Education.

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