Beth Fertig is the contributing editor for education, covering the New York City public school system for WNYC on air and online at SchoolBook.org. She has covered education in the city for more than 15 ...
As More Schools Reopen, Attendance Rises
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 06:52 PM
Three city schools in buildings damaged by Sandy will be able to reopen on Wednesday, after being relocated for a week. The schools serve about 2300 students.
The Department of Education said the schools are: Mark Twain I.S. 239 for the Gifted & Talented in Coney Island; P.S. 279 Herman Schreiber in Canarsie; and P.S. 253 in Far Rockaway, which shares space with a District 75 school and an adult education program.
This leaves 34 schools still holding classes in different locations. Some will go back to their buildings next week but others will have to wait until December or early 2013.
No schools will continue serving as shelters as of Wednesday. Brooklyn Technical High School was the last school sharing space with evacuees. The Department of Homeless Services says the 156 special medical needs evacuees were expected to safely return to their nursing homes and adult care facilities on Tuesday evening.
As schools come back online, however, the Department of Education said some might still need extra repairs. The Mark Twain school, for example, is reopening because it's getting a temporary boiler. However, the D.O.E. said schools that reopen will not have to close again for additional repairs.
Overall attendance at the 37 schools that were still in different locations on Tuesday was 67.1 percent. But at 15 schools that went back to their buildings, the D.O.E. said attendance was 76.7 percent.
Agency spokesperson Erin Hughes said that's a big improvement over last week, when attendance at the relocated schools was less than 40 percent. "As students are able to go to their original buildings you can see a jump in the attendance rate," she said.
Last week, there weren't enough buses available for all children to get from their old schools to their new locations. But the D.O.E. said all relocated schools will have a 7 a.m. shuttle bus, including all high schools except Manhattan’s Millenium High School.
But families in apartment buildings without heat or power, or whose homes were flooded, might have temporarily relocated to other cities and towns.
Challenge Preparatory Charter in the Rockaways will finally reopen on Wednesday, too. The D.O.E. says the school did not want to relocate, and decided to wait for repairs and power. The Long Island Power Authority restored power on Monday.