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Classroom Chaos In Queens

Some Students Sent Across The Borough

The city’s attempt to get the public school population back in class after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy led to chaos this week, with some schools opening without heat, others still closed, and some pupils being sent to class across the city, sometimes to different boroughs.

Schools officially reopened on Monday, Nov. 5, then closed on Tuesday, Nov. 6 for Election Day. A total of 57 schools were not able to open Monday, however, due to structural damage to buildings, a lack of power, or the need for those schools to act as shelters for evacuees from other parts of the city.

“I understand the significant impact this storm has had on your lives,” Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott stated in a letter to parents. “We are committed to working around the clock to help your children make a smooth transition back to school.”

Almost half of the closed schools were in School District 27, which covers Woodhaven and Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, Howard Beach and the Rockaway peninsula. Several of those classes were relocated to schools in District 24, which covers the Ridgewood/Glendale/Maspeth/Middle Village area.

Some schools had different grades sent to different locations. For example, P.S./M.S. 207, located at 159-15 88th St. in Howard Beach, had its pre-kindergarten to second-grade classes moved to the Metropolitan Avenue Schools Campus, located at 91-30 Metropolitan Ave. in Glendale, while its third- to eighth-grade classes took place at I.S. 204, located at 36-41 28th St. in Astoria.

P.S./M.S. 114 in Belle Harbor was split among three locations in the Ridgewood/Glendale area: kindergarten to second-grade classes were held at I.S. 77, at 976 Seneca Ave. in Ridgewood; third- and fourth-graders went to I.S. 119, at 74-01 78th Ave. in Glendale; and fifth- to eighth- grade classes were held at I.S. 93, at 66-56 Forest Ave. in Ridgewood.

In addition, one District 30 school was also displaced. P.S. 78, at 48-09 Center Blvd. in Long Island City, had all its classes moved to P.S. 76, at 36- 36 10th St. in Astoria.

Maspeth High School and the Franklin K. Lane Educational Campus on the Woodhaven/Cypress Hills border also took in students from affected schools.

Some of the schools that did reopen lacked heat; students were advised to bundle up.

By Wednesday, the city had cut the number of closed schools down to 42.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the decision to restart classes in a Sunday, Nov. 4 press conference.

“Let me remind everybody, our kids have already missed a week of school and we don’t want them to miss another day. And throughout the last week, parents have had to rearrange their schedules to take care of their kids-and that can be a real hardship for a lot of people who want to get a day at work and can’t do both,” he said.

The mayor added that “96 percent” of school bus service would be available.

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