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Friday, December 19, 2014

Halls of confusion
With work on Lawrence High expected to take weeks, hundreds of students are relocated
Jeffrey Bessen/Herald
Teacher schedules are taped to the walls of the middle school to help direct instructors to their assignments.


Concern and confusion were the most common reactions during the first week of a district-wide relocation after Lawrence High School closed on Jan. 16 due to damage to its electrical system caused by Hurricane Sandy. District officials say the repair work may take as long as eight weeks (see “Repairing the high school’s electrical system,” page 3).
The shutdown of the school, at 2 Reilly Road in Cedarhurst, has forced 975 high school students to attend the middle school, and 400 fifth- and sixth-graders from the middle school have been moved to the Number Five and Number Two elementary schools, respectively.
The fifth- and sixth-graders are first bused to the middle school, and then to the elementary schools. They return to the middle school to be bused home. Seventh- and eight-graders remain in the middle school.
The displaced high school students are using the second floor of the middle school. “It was confusing at first because we didn’t know what classes to go to, and we have to get used to the middle school again,” said Ludwing Velasquez, a high school senior. “The hallways were so crowded, and almost impossible to get through. It took 10 minutes to get through.”
Velasquez takes a math class during his lunch period, and he said it’s hard to be on time. “I grab lunch in between classes and eat in math class,” he explained, “but I’ve been late because it takes forever to get through the lunch line and to class on time.”
High school students who drive to school may drive to the Lawrence Yacht and Country Club and be bused to the middle school from there. The district can apply for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, school officials said.
High school midterm exams were canceled, said Lawrence District Superintendent Gary Schall. “The advantage is that that testing time will be used for instruction,” he said. “There will be unit tests instead of cumulative tests.”

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