ED activates emergency response contact center

Volunteer rescue boats rescue stranded residents as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise in Spring, Texas. (Photo: AP/David J. Phillip)

The U.S. Education Department on Tuesday activated its emergency response contact center in response to the devastating impacts of Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area.

The Department’s K-12 and higher education stakeholders who are seeking informational resources as well as those seeking relief from department-based administrative requirements can contact ED at 844-348-4082 or email HarveyRelief@ed.gov.

The department’s primary role in natural disasters is to assist school districts and higher education institutions in their recovery efforts. In addition to internal agency meetings, ED is participating in daily interagency briefings led by the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to assess the extent of the damage to educational infrastructure and the needs of its schools and colleges in the wake of Harvey.

The department says it also has reached out to the Texas Education Agency, the Louisiana Department of Education and colleges and universities in the effected areas and will coordinate its recovery activities through them. Last week, the department began contacting more than 200 colleges and universities in the area — including more than a dozen community colleges — and noted it will be flexible regarding administering certain federal student aid rules.

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