MSDE Hurricane Enrollment Advice

Division of Student, Family, and School Support / Academic Policy

Enrolling Children Due To Hurricanes

Issue Date: September 26, 2017

Parents of school-age children who are being relocated to Maryland as an aftermath of recent hurricanes have the same rights as “children experiencing homelessness” under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.

Enroll Immediately:

School records, immunization records, and/or permanent address records are not required.  Each Local Educational Agency (LEA) follows current guidelines under McKinney-Vento and collects the necessary follow-up through pupil services for documentation.  The documents may not become readily available for a number of months. Note: Students who are identified as homeless according to the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 13A.05.09.05 may not be denied enrollment due to lack of documentation of immunizations.

Grade Level: 

Accept the grade level declared by the responsible person enrolling the child.  The original state of residence may be able to provide some assistance.


The enrolling student may attend the school nearest to where they are staying. This may be the school attendance area for the address.  The LEA will provide transportation for the child if other children in the attendance area receive transportation.


Children experiencing homelessness are eligible to receive services that all other children receive including special education, Limited English Proficiency support, gifted and talented programs, etc.  If the responsible person reports a special education program, Individualized Education Program (IEP), or 504 then LEAs should follow up with procedure for IEPs or take immediate action to gain an immediate assessment.

Food and Nutrition Programs: 

Children experiencing homelessness are eligible for the Free and Reduced Breakfast and Lunch Program.  Procedures in Maryland are already in place for this program. Check with the Homeless Coordinator in the school system for procedures to be used in the LEA.

Resources for Assisting Students and Families

  1. Homeless Education Coordinators/Liaisons by Local School System
  2. Council of Parents’ Attorneys and Advocates
    Educational Rights of Students Displaced by Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and other Hurricanes
  3. National Education Association
    Hurricane Harvey Resources and Relief
  4. American School Counselor Association
    Hurricane/Flood Resources
  5. National Child Traumatic Stress Network
    Hurricane Harvey and Irma Resources
  6. National Center for Homeless Education
    Disaster Preparation and Response
  7. National Association of School Psychologists
    Helping Children After a Natural Disaster: Information for Families and Educators 
  8. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
    Reducing the Impact of Secondary Trauma on Front Line Human Services Staff
  9. National Association of School Nurses (NASN)
    Disaster Preparedness Resources from NASN