Puerto Rican students migrating to York City after storms

Junior Gonzalez
York Dispatch

The York City School District has seen a moderate influx of students enrolling from Puerto Rico as residents continue to flee the devastated island.

Waritza Alejandro embraces her mother-in-law Maritza Ortiz, before boarding a flight to Tampa with her husband Christian Vega and their daughter Tiana, in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. The couple lost their home to Hurricane Maria. The disaster wrought by Maria has set off an anguished debate across Puerto Rico, where friends, family and co-workers are arguing fiercely over the morality of leaving the blacked-out island vs. staying to fulfill a patriotic duty to rebuild. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

Thousands of Puerto Ricans have made their way to the mainland after hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the Caribbean island in August and September.

More than 80 percent of residents still lack power nearly two months after Maria struck the U.S. territory, according to The Associated Press.

At a recent York City School District board meeting, special programs coordinator Deborah Hioutis informed board members that about 50 students from 31 Puerto Rican families enrolled with the district from Oct. 30 to Nov. 6.

More:Hurricane sets off fierce debate about leaving Puerto Rico

More:State report card: York City schools improving, most other districts see drop

More:Puerto Rico still in the dark a month after Maria

The influx appears to be affecting urban school districts more than rural and suburban districts.

Hioutis said the Reading School District in Berks County has seen 80 students from Puerto Rico enroll in recent weeks.

The Allentown School District has seen a more substantial influx of 200 Puerto Rican students, according to Hioutis.

In contrast, York Suburban has had two families approach the district, according to a district administrator.

At West York, four students from Puerto Rico have enrolled, according to district acting Superintendent Patricia Sanker.

Sanker added that the district is experiencing an increase in calls inquiring about enrolling students, though it is unclear whether they are Puerto Rican migrants.