“There was a lot of kids today — I was surprised to see that many kids back,” Long Beach High School senior Maria Krzeminski said after her first day back at school on Tuesday, two weeks after Superstorm Sandy brought Long Beach to a standstill.
“We all thought we were going to be broken up, our friends were going to leave, but we winded up coming back,” she said. “It was actually a good day.”
Krzeminski was among the thousands of students in the Long Beach School District who, if they weren’t displaced or contending with damaged homes, returned to school on Tuesday. School officials, who began meeting shortly after the storm, decided to reopen after two weeks of planning and locating evacuated families and students.
“We basically did in three days what we did over the summer,” Schools Superintendent David Weiss said at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.
The three buildings that sustained the least damage from the storm — the Lindell and East schools and Long Beach High School — were opened, and all of the district’s students will attend classes in those buildings until sometime after Thanksgiving. Lido Elementary School students are attending Lindell School, West School students are going to East School and middle school students are temporarily moving up to the high school.
“We are still hopeful in terms of moving to open all the schools as quickly as we can,” said Board of Education Trustee Dr. Dennis Ryan. “We know how important it is for parents to have their kids in school. Every kid was happy to be [back] in school, no matter what they tell you. They were overwhelmed to see their classmates and teachers that they haven’t seen in two weeks.”
Students who were displaced by the storm traveled from all over the metropolitan area to return to classes, according to the district. Buses — which were parked on higher ground and not damaged — ran smoothly on the first day, with a modified schedule for students within the district and new routes established to transport students who are temporarily living outside it.