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Providence schools superintendent ready to enroll students from Puerto Rico

Providence Schools Superintendent Christopher Maher is prepared to welcome students from Puerto Rico, who evacuated the island following Hurricane Maria, to Providence.

Providence Schools Superintendent Christopher Maher is prepared to welcome students from Puerto Rico, who evacuated the island following Hurricane Maria, to Providence.

Maher said it's too early to know how many students will arrive or when, but noted that there's no question they will come to Providence.

He told reporters on Friday that the district has spoken with families in Providence, who are interested in enrolling their loved ones from Puerto Rico in the city's public schools.

"We also anticipate there will be many children arriving who are unaccompanied because their parents can get them out to come live with a relative here, and hopefully, that’s a temporary situation and then they’ll have the opportunity to go back to their home," Maher said.

Mahar went on to say that school officials are aware that evacuated students and their families may not have all the paperwork that's typically required upon enrollment.

"We will have bilingual individuals in every one of our schools to help support not only the students who come, but their families," Maher said.

Providence isn’t the only area getting ready to welcome evacuees. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is forming a task force to help those relocating from the island.

Central Falls Councilwoman Maria Rivera told NBC 10 News that Rhode Island state officials need to do more to help Puerto Rico. She has family in Puerto Rico and has been organizing collection drives.

"I need all the help that I can get to hurry up and get these items over there,” Rivera said. “And if we have family here who was not heard from their family, how can we connect? Does the governor’s office have a direct number we can call and see if anybody can give us information.”

Rivera hopes that many of her loved ones in Puerto Rico choose to relocate to Rhode Island as Puerto Rico rebuilds.

"The lack of food, and water, electricity. Everything is wrong with Puerto Rico right now," Rivera said.

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