Region 8 Schools Ready For Hurricane Refugee Students - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR -- Heather Flanigan Reports

Region 8 Schools Ready For Hurricane Refugee Students

September 1, 2005 – Posted at 5:12 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- Schools across Region 8 have been in session just about two weeks, and by now students are settling into a routine for classes. But for students on the hurricane ravaged Gulf Coast, normalcy is no longer a part of their lives.

For school children that have survived Hurricane Katrina, life won't be the same for a while.

“Anything that we can give them back to give them some structure will be helpful,” said Marilyn Copeland of the Jonesboro Public Schools District.

And that's why Region 8 schools are busy preparing for a new wave of students.

“There's already been at least 100 students identified in Jonesboro at this time and with more students coming in,” said Copeland.

Officials realize most students won't have the proper paperwork or immunization records, but they say it's not a problem.

“We're not asking for them to bring anything. Just bring your children, we will try to accommodate anybody,” said Copeland.

Registration for college students has been relaxed also. Arkansas State University is working to enroll displaced students from the Gulf Coast.

“We're more concerned about getting them back into their academic routine and helping them move towards their completion of their degree. Where they complete that degree doesn't matter to us, it's more important that they have the opportunity to continue,” said Lynita Cooksey, Associate Vice Chancellor of ASU Academic Services.

The University is offering in-state tuition to students affected by the hurricane.

“If they are Arkansas resident and they would like to come to Arkansas State then we will give them a waiver on tuition & fees for the fall semester,” said Cooksey.

It's a chance for students to stay on track and for this 'good neighbor' community to embrace it's image.

“We have already had faculty and students who have volunteered to say I'll be glad to serve as a tutor or as a peer mentor to help students get caught up,” said Cooksey.

There are other schools in Region 8 waiving paperwork and immunization records for student refugees.

Weiner school superintendent Betty McGrouder says they are allowing children to enroll and are also assisting in housing. For more information, you can contact the school at (870) 684-2250 or at (870) 684-2252.

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