Yasmeen Khan is a reporter covering education. You can find her stories on the air and on SchoolBook.org, WNYC’s education website.
Damaged Schools Dry Out, Clean Up From Storm
Thursday, November 01, 2012 - 02:28 PM
Education officials and city work crews are trying to get schools back on track to open to students on Monday.
The Department of Education said 200 school buildings were "not operational" after the storm, and on Thursday workers continued to assess damage, make repairs and clean up.
Waterside Children's Studio School in the Rockaways was scrambling to help its community displaced by Hurricane Sandy. There is a fundraising effort underway on the website Give Forward. Kevyn Bowles said on Twitter "Basement flooded, damaging electric equip. & the boiler…no power in the Rockaways and no access to a generator to pump it out."
He added that he didn't know yet where the Waterside students will go on Monday.
At P.S. 15 Patrick F. Daly in Red Hook, where water levels reached at least to the tops of car doors out on the street, workers continued to pump salt water out of the basement on Thursday morning. They had worked through the night, and by midday expected to reach the cement floor.
Also, the 76 emergency shelters, most of which are housed in public schools, would be consolidated to 15 shelters in order to free up the school buildings. "We need the schools back," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
What is happening at your local school? Will it be ready for students' return on Monday? Share your pictures and comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The basement of the public school building on East 12th Street, between avenues B and C, was flooded with about eight inches of water, said custodian Mike Balaes. The building houses three schools -- P.S. 315 The East Village Community School, The Children’s Workshop School and P.S. 61 -- which serve about 600 children, he said.
Like the rest of the neighborhood, the school had no power and was pitch black inside. Workers were set to pump out the water on Thursday so that the school would be ready for students on Monday.
Across the rest of the East Village and Lower East Side, where electricity remained off, other school buildings were darkened and locked up although with no apparent signs of damage from Hurricane Sandy.
Activity was to be found at the Seward Park Educational Campus, an imposing white brick building on Essex Street, which was serving as a hurricane shelter for residents who had no power in their homes. The building houses five smaller high schools, including the Essex Street Academy and the Urban Assembly Academy of Government and Law, but its facilities were in full use on Thursday by the evacuees.
The gyms had been converted into dormitories with cots and blue blankets, and food was being served in the fifth floor cafeteria. City workers and other volunteers were assisting the temporary residents, some of whom complained that the shelter was not being run smoothly.
Eunice Pastures, 70, who lives on Delancey Street, said she had been staying at the school since Sunday afternoon. She said shelter organizers had been slow to hand out bottled water, that lines for meals could take over an hour and that people were moving around freely even in dormitories while others were trying to sleep.
Pastures said that shelter officials were trying to move people out of the school and take the people to other shelters in midtown and the Upper West Side. She, however, said she would refuse to go.
A request to speak to a shelter official was denied.