Education Services for Students from Hurricane Disaster Areas:

Questions and Answers

This Question and Answer (Q&A) document will provide information to parents of school-age children who have temporarily relocated to Alabama due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina. The Q&A document provides information about how to enroll in Alabama schools, health and immunization requirements, school lunch and nutrition, special education, and language instruction.

Q1. How soon may I enroll my child in an Alabama school?

A. Students have the right to enroll in school immediately.

Q2. What school records must I have to enroll my child in an Alabama school?

A. In an emergency situation such as a natural disaster, a family may not have the normally required documents such as school records, medical records, proof of residency, or other documents. The local education agency (LEA) will enroll the students without requiring these documents.

Q3. What health and immunization records do I need to enroll my child in school while I am temporarily living in Alabama?

A. The Alabama Department of Public Health is working with Alabama schools to allow temporary provisional enrollment for students transferring from areas affected by Hurricane Kartina. Normal immunization requirements for children attending school in Alabama are being temporarily waived for children displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Q4. Which school should my child attend?

A. Your child will be allowed to enroll immediately in the local school near where you are staying even if you do not have the papers or documents normally required. This determination will be made in the best interest of your child. The LEA will provide your child with transportation to and from the local school if other children who typically attend the school also get transportation.

Q5. What services is my child eligible to receive?

A. Any student who is in a homeless situation is covered by the federal McKinney-Vento Act and can get free school meals. Students who need special education, gifted and talented programs, English language programs, or other services, to the extent such services are feasible, will be provided such services. Additional services may be provided through the local education agency Title I program.

Q6. How will my child receive meals at their new school?

A. Children who are victims of disaster such as hurricanes will be categorized as children who are in homeless situations and will be eligible for free meals while attending their temporary school. Your child must be enrolled in the local education agency and his/her name must appear on a list compiled by the LEA Homeless Liaison. A list from a shelter director may also be used to identify children who are homeless but those children must also be enrolled in the LEA. A list will be provided to the school nutrition program for children who are eligible for free meals. No application is required to receive free meals.

Q7. My child received special education services in his/her previous school. Will he/she get those services during our temporary stay in Alabama?

A. When enrolling your child in an Alabama school, make sure you inform the school that your child previously received special education services. If possible, describe your child’s disability and the special education services your child received in the previous school.

Q8. My child speaks another language at home and received help in learning English in his/her previous school. Will he/she get those services during our temporary stay in Alabama?

A. When enrolling your child in an Alabama school, make sure you inform the school that your child received English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction or received bilingual education in English and his/her native language. Once the school is aware that your child needs assistance with language, school personnel will make the appropriate arrangements for your child to receive these services. Since Alabama is an English only state, ESL instruction will be provided at the school that your child is enrolled.