NYS-TEACHS › Info by Topic: Disaster Response

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Disaster Response

Resources | SED Guidance

Students who are temporarily displaced due to disaster are protected by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act, a federal law that discusses the public education of students in temporary housing. The definition of homelessness under this Act is broad, and it covers students who are doubling up with friends or family due to loss of housing, as well as students in shelters, vehicles, and other temporary arrangements. Under the McKinney-Vento Act, students in temporary housing are entitled to free transportation back to their school of origin, or they can enroll immediately in the new local school where they are temporarily residing.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Find answers to commonly asked questions about protections and services available to students impacted by natural disasters under the McKinney-Vento Act.


NYS-TEACHS Guides & Resources

  • Helping Families and Schools Recover in the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey: This September 2017 presentation from the U.S. Department of Education, titled “Helping Families and Schools Recover in the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey,” has important information about how school districts can better help students affected by Hurricane Harvey and other natural disasters, including information about supports for students made homeless by a natural disaster and specific steps school districts can take to help students, families, and schools recover.
  • Know Your Rights! Informational Flyer: This flyer can be distributed following a natural disaster to help families and youth understand their educational rights. It includes space to add local contact information.
  • Know Your Rights! Informational Flyer (NYC): This flyer can be distributed following a natural disaster to help families and youth understand their educational rights. It includes space to add local contact information.
  • Tip Sheets to the Educational Rights of Students in Temporary Housing: Available for New York State and New York City
  • Free Meals: Students in temporary housing are categorically eligible for free meals

School Resources

Disaster Relief

  • New York State Education Department Disaster Assistance: List of resources for hurricane and other storm damage recovery.
  • Supportive Housing Network of NY: Supportive housing providers across New York serve tenants in damaged and flooded residences. Below, you'll find information on how you can make cash donations or donate other goods. You'll also find details on how you can volunteer or receive assistance from various government agencies.
  • FEMA:

    If you or your loved ones have been affected by hurricane and are in need of assistance, you can register with FEMA for aid. To do so, call (800) 621-3362 or TTY (800) 462-7585 or register online at www.disasterassistance.gov

  • Shelter:

    The Red Cross provides shelter throughout affected areas. Visit their website for a listing www.redcross.org/find-help/shelter or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)

Additional information about hurricane victim aid and ways everyone can help in the relief effort can be found in the following links:

SED Guidance

PLEASE NOTE: Some of the information in the documents below is now out of date.

Important changes related to McKinney-Vento were included in the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA), which went into effect October 1, 2016, and updates to New York Education Law Section 3209 went into effect on April 17, 2017. The changes to the law include: expanded transportation protections, privacy protections, and improved access to pre-school for students in temporary housing. Please continue to check nysteachs.org for updated information about how new laws impact policies and procedures in New York State, and as always, feel free to contact NYS-TEACHS at 800-388-2014 with any questions you may have.

NYSED Field Memo: Students Displaced by Recent Hurricanes

This October 2017 Field Memo provides information and resources for local educational agencies (LEAs), including school districts, charter schools, and BOCES, regarding the rights of and services available to students displaced by recent Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

NYSED Field Memo: Extreme Weather Events: Hurricane Sandy/Nor'easter and Transportation for Nonpublic, Homeless and Charter School Students

This November 2012 Field Memo provides information about transportation of students post-Superstorm Sandy, including students attending nonpublic schools. However, please note that transportation protections, privacy protections, and access to pre-school programs, for example, have been exanded under state and federal law since the memo was published.

NYSED Field Memo: Extreme Weather Events in New York State and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (McKinney-Vento)

This November 2012 Field Memo describes how and when McKinney-Vento protections apply to students displaced by a disaster.

Q & A: Information for School Districts Impacted by Severe Weather Events

This memo, last updated in November 2012, answers a number of questions regarding the education of students after a severe weather event.

Special Education Advisory: School Districts Impacted by Hurricane Sandy and Requests for Flexibility in Special Education Requirements

This November 2012 advisory was issued in response to inquiries about waivers/flexibility for special education requirements in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The advisory also reviews requirements of LEAs under the McKinney-Vento Act to provide comparable services to enrolling students in temporary housing.


Upcoming Workshops and Trainings

11/15/17 Workshop in Buffalo

11/30/17 Training @ SW BOCES

+ More dates, information and registration

Upcoming Webinars

11/21/17 Supporting Students Displaced by Natural Disasters

12/13/17 College Access

12/20/17 Funding and Reimbursement

Webinar Schedule

Recorded Webinars and Materials

More dates, information and registration

Workshops and Training Materials

Training and Workshop Materials