Harvey evacuees, tell us about getting your children back in school

As coastal Texas school districts pick up the pieces after Hurricane Harvey flooded and razed their schools, parents must make crucial decisions about how long to wait before enrolling their children somewhere else.

The state is giving students who evacuated from the storm a “reasonable period of time” to decide where they want to enroll, without being penalized. Texas Education Agency officials are deciding on a case-by-case basis how to deal with schools unable to open in the next few weeks.

Under federal law, students who are staying in a shelter, with friends or relatives, or in other temporary housing are considered homeless. They can immediately enroll in any Texas school district and must be referred to the services they need, including mental health and housing resources.

Even in school districts that are able to open soon after the storm, some buildings are damaged beyond repair. In Houston ISD alone, the Houston Chronicle reports, more than 10,000 students will need to attend other campuses, with standing water in 200 schools.

The Texas Tribune wants to hear from families displaced by the storm going through this process and trying to get their kids back in school.

When and why did you make the decision to stay in or leave your home district? What services does your child need to succeed?

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Read related Tribune coverage:

  • As several school officials along the Gulf Coast determine whether their districts can start classes next Tuesday, superintendents across the state are encouraging families displaced by Hurricane Harvey to enroll in their schools. [Full story]

  • Though school districts in the Houston area have postponed classes at least until next Tuesday, their buildings and employees are central to providing relief for people needing shelter during the Hurricane Harvey floods. [Full story]

  • After Hurricane Harvey led to cancelling a week of classes, the University of Houston re-opened Tuesday with a faculty and student body filled with people facing a wide array of challenges related to the storm. [Full story]