(CNN) – Public schools in Palm Beach County, Florida, have begun enrolling Bahamian students who evacuated devastated islands after Hurricane Dorian, a school district spokeswoman said.
As of Tuesday, fifteen Bahamian children had enrolled, Julie Houston Trieste said. The young evacuees are welcome at any district school and can register at a central welcome office, she said.
Students are being provided backpacks filled with school supplies by the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County, which later will open its school supply store so evacuated families can shop for free, Houston Trieste said.
Dorian, the strongest hurricane to ever make landfall in the Bahamas, wiped out neighborhoods and left about 17% – about 70,000 people – homeless.
The White House has increased staff to help expedite the processing of US visas for Bahamian evacuees, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday.
However, the Trump administration won’t grant temporary protected status, a form of humanitarian relief, to Bahamians. And no shelters are open for Bahamian evacuees in Florida, DeSantis said.