Hundreds displaced by hurricanes sign up for Florida virtual courses

Travis Pillow

Hundreds of students displaced by this fall’s hurricanes have signed up for classes with Florida’s statewide public virtual school.

Florida Virtual School offered its services to students displaced by Hurricanes Irma and Maria this fall. So far, spokeswoman Tania Clow said 337 students have signed up for classes using its dedicated hurricane relief “schoolhouse.”

The majority — 219 — live in Puerto Rico. Nearly a third of the island remains without power. Schools have struggled to reopen. They rely on generators, and their schedules remain out of whack. Thousands of students have fled to the mainland. States as far away as Pennsylvania have begun clammoring for aid.

Another of the 110 students are based in Florida, with a handful in the U.S. Virgin Islands and other states.

Florida Virtual School functions like a statewide school district, and is funded through the same pool of money as other public schools. It also offers classes around the world. Like its hurricane relief efforts, those classes rely on separate revenue sources.

The number of students signed up for virtual classes pales in comparison to the thousands Florida’s brick-and-mortar schools have begun to absorb. State lawmakers are expected to grapple with funding public education for those students when their annual session convenes in January.

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