After schools opened for the majority of students Monday, the Bloomberg administration says it will take advantage of another day off for students to work through a relocation plan for schools in buildings badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Students are off Tuesday because of Election Day.
The mayor said city staff will also be working through any kinks from students’ first day back.
“The dry run — I suppose you can think of it as today,” Mayor Bloomberg said Monday afternoon while visiting P.S. 195 Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn. “I’m sure there were people where the bus didn’t show. I’m sure there some buses couldn’t get down the street or the driver was new or the bus didn’t start.”
He added that on Tuesday education officials will look at “what worked, what didn’t work.”
About 73,000 students did not attend school on Monday, primarily because their schools still lacked power or were in damaged buildings. Some of those students attend school in one of eight buildings that are still in use as emergency shelters for storm evacuees.
The Department of Education is working on a relocation plan for schools in damaged buildings. In an effort to find space, the plan includes sometimes splitting up a school’s grades among buildings and even boroughs. The number of schools requiring a new location was down to 48 Monday afternoon, and education officials said the number would likely continue to change as buildings are repaired.
Families and teachers should check the Education Department’s school relocation page for updates.
The mayor said that on Wednesday, city staff would be positioned outside schools on the relocation list to clear up any confusion for families.
“In case the parents didn’t get the robo call, didn’t look at the website, didn’t read the names of the schools in the paper that were closed,” the mayor said, “we will have buses there and somebody to direct them and take them.”
As for shelters, Mayor Bloomberg said the plan is for students at 16 schools in buildings used as shelter sites to return to school Monday.
“We think we will have most of those shelters move the people out of the schools,” he said. “There are a couple where we will keep them in the schools, but we will have them totally separate in terms of entrance, exit and just in a different part of the building.”
Education officials were not able to specify yet which schools would stay open to evacuees come Wednesday morning.
In addition, the Department of Education asked staff from the approximately two dozen schools that did not re-open Monday because they had no power to check the D.O.E. website Monday evening to see if their schools will open to staff Tuesday.
The United Federation of Teachers helped spread the word on Facebook, saying teachers should know by 8 p.m. if they need to report to work Tuesday. While schools are closed to students for Election Day, educators and staff are expected to work, if possible, as the school system scrambles to get as many schools as possible running again after the storm last week shut schools down for a week.
Several school principals contacted by SchoolBook said they would use Tuesday as a professional development day with a focus on helping people in the community who needed it.
Principal Musa Ali Shama of Francis Lewis High School said many on his staff were affected by Sandy. One staffer lost his home. The school community gave him winter coats for his three children.
“We’re having conversations with people one on one and asking what they need. We will take up a discreet collection,” he said. “Not everyone raises their hand to say what they need.”