Florida Virtual School Will Accept 20,000 Puerto Rican Students

Elionet Saez Martin, of Puerto Rico, left, works with his kindergarten teacher, Rachael Leupold, at Chamberlain Elementary School in New Britain, Conn., last week. As Hurricane Maria churned toward Puerto Rico, Elionet's mother put him and his 9-year-old brother, Eliot, on a plane to be with their grandfather in Connecticut. Large numbers of Puerto Rican children are expected to enroll in school districts on the U.S. mainland in the aftermath of the hurricane.
Elionet Saez Martin, of Puerto Rico, left, works with his kindergarten teacher, Rachael Leupold, at Chamberlain Elementary School in New Britain, Conn., last week. As Hurricane Maria churned toward Puerto Rico, Elionet's mother put him and his 9-year-old brother, Eliot, on a plane to be with their grandfather in Connecticut. Large numbers of Puerto Rican children are expected to enroll in school districts on the U.S. mainland in the aftermath of the hurricane.
—Jessica Hill/AP
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Florida school districts have worked to incorporate Maria victims into their school systems. Now that help has extended in the form of Florida Virtual School.

Governor Rick Scott announced Tuesday that the online school system will accept 20,000 Puerto Rican students.

The move is an effort to ensure that affected children have an opportunity to continue their eduction. Affected students living in either Puerto Rico or Florida may take part.

“Families in Puerto Rico have experienced extreme devastation of their homes and communities due to Hurricane Maria. As they work to rebuild their lives, these families should not have to worry about their children falling behind in school. In Florida, our schools offer a world-class education, and I am glad that Florida Virtual School has stepped up to help these families as they rebuild their lives,” said Scott. “I encourage Puerto Rican families to take advantage of this opportunity and the state of Florida will continue to do all we can to help them during this challenging time.”

Scott traveled to Puerto Rico last week to aid in the recovery process. Scott has previously offered Florida’s assistance in the form of National Guard troops and ensuring that supplies ship faster out of the state’s seaports.

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“Even as Florida works to fully recover from Hurricane Irma, our state still has the capability to support our neighbors and friends in their time of need,” Scott said in a statement.

Puerto Rican families interested in signing up for classes should call Liz Chico at (863) 606-8033.

Florida school districts have already begun to enroll affected students into local elementary, middle and high schools. Displaced families that would prefer to enroll their children in a local school should contact their local school district.

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