New York State Department of Education

10/13/2017 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/13/2017 07:40

Parent Update from Commissioner Elia

Recently, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria battered Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and several other countries in the Caribbean, leaving thousands of people displaced. Some families from these impacted areas, and their school-aged children, have already relocated to New York and many more may relocate in the coming weeks and months. This week, the State Education Department issued guidance to school districts to help students displaced by the recent hurricanes.

Students who are temporarily displaced due to disaster are likely protected by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act, a federal law that details the educational rights of students in temporary housing. Under the McKinney-Vento Act, students in temporary housing can enroll immediately in a school in the district where they are temporarily living even if they do not have the documents normally needed or missed enrollment deadlines. In addition, these displaced children are eligible for free school meals, Title I services, and services to support students with disabilities and English language learners.

NYSED stands ready to help school districts enroll these displaced students who likely have no school records available as a result of the devastation caused by these unrelenting natural disasters. Our guidance provides important information and resources for displaced families and the schools that will serve them.

Last week, we announced a new partnership with the New York State Optometric Association, VSP Global, and the New York State Society of Opticians to provide access to no-cost eye exams and glasses to students at seven schools across New York as part of School Vision Health Month. In June 2017, the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate passed resolutions proclaiming October 2017 as School Vision Health Month to raise awareness about providing accessible visual care and resources to those who are in need.

Given the important role clear vision plays in children's physical, cognitive, and social development, it is imperative that children who need glasses have access to the vision care they need regardless of their families' ability to pay. I want to thank the State Assembly and Senate for highlighting this critical issue and VSP and the licensed eye care professionals who donated resources and time to make these free exams possible.

You can read more about School Vision Health Month and find out which districts are participating in the