Much like Worcester, which two months ago reported most of the Puerto Rican and U.S. Virgin Island students who arrived midway through last school year had already left, the rest of the region’s schools have also seen a steep drop-off in hurricane-displaced students this school year, new state data shows.

As of Oct. 1 – the most recent official count recorded by the state – 1,940 students who had come over as a result of the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria in the Caribbean in September 2017 were still enrolled in Massachusetts public schools.

That total was down from 3,450 students five months before, in May, when districts were scrambling to keep up with the sudden influx of new arrivals and the state was releasing emergency funding to school systems that received the most children.

In Central Massachusetts, the region’s urban districts enrolled the vast majority of those students, led by Worcester, which had close to 400 last May, Fitchburg, which had 109, and Southbridge, which had 96. By Oct. 1, those numbers had dropped to 205 in Worcester, 64 in Fitchburg, and 45 in Southbridge.

Elsewhere in the region, Leominster’s population of hurricane-displaced students over that same period fell from 83 to 48, Gardner’s went from 21 to 12, and Webster’s dropped from 15 to 10.

According to school officials, not all the students who left have gone back to the islands.

"Some returned to Puerto Rico," said Eva Kelly, Fitchburg’s director of enrollment and parent engagement. "Others have settled in other communities in Massachusetts, while others have moved out of state."

While a sudden increase and then decrease in such a large number of students could have created budgeting problems for school districts, Massachusetts in the past year awarded both state and federal funding meant to help schools weather the situation.

"Last year the funding helped the district close gaps in our funding and allowed us to prevent ending the year in the red," said Southbridge's superintendent/receiver, Jeffrey Villar. "We are also counting on the additional funding that was promised for this year."