SAN JOSE - Several East Bay Area schools have closed due to poor air quality from the current fires in Sonoma, Napa, and Solano counties. As a result, many displaced families from these counties have migrated toward the South Bay.
"All these students, including children staying with families and friends are technically homeless," according to Steve Olmos, Ed.D., Chief Schools Officer at the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE). "Public schools should be prepared to accept an influx of students from the displaced families."
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act specifies that homeless children and youths shall be provided services, including transportation services, educational services, and meals through school meals programs. Parents of displaced students may contact the McKinney-Vento program coordinator at their nearby school district.
Air quality is a rising concern for residents in Santa Clara County, "At the SCCOE we have received many telephone calls from parents inquiring about South Bay campus closures," says Peter Daniels, Chief Public Affairs Officer. "Campus closures are managed by their respective school districts. We have asked our local school public information officers to advise the SCCOE of closures, but we recommend families contact their child's school district directly."
The County of Santa Clara Public Health Department recommends that "parents and school administrators check air quality readings before allowing children to practice outdoor sports while air quality is unhealthy."
There are several local organizations to help stay informed:
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The Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) is a regional service agency that provides instructional and business services to the 31 school districts of Santa Clara County. The SCCOE serves students through special education programs, alternative schools, Head Start and State Preschool programs, migrant education, and Opportunity Youth Academy. The Office also provides curriculum support, staff development, and technology support and training directly to teachers and staff in schools countywide.