After being closed for more than two weeks due to Hurricane Sandy, which included Election Day and Veterans Day, the Lawrence School District reopened its schools on Tuesday.
District 15 Superintendent Gary Schall officially announced the reopening on Monday afternoon. All public and private school transportation also resumed, he said.
“The coordinator of Health and Safety for Nassau BOCES said the extent of our damage is minimal comparative to other school districts,” Schall said.
The high school auditorium sustained damage to its floor and stage, which resulted in the postponing of the school show while repairs are being made. The school’s air conditioning unit also needs to be fixed. There are two sinkholes outside the high school caused by overflowing water that ruptured pipes, but that damage is contained, Schall said. A skylight at the middle school was damaged and the weather vane was knocked off. All the elementary schools are good, he added.
The primary problem was no power. Much of the Five Towns area has been restored. Dylan Rampersaud, a Lawrence High senior still had no power at his Inwood home as of Monday. After missing two weeks of school, he was concerned that his teachers would not be able to properly prepare him for the Advanced Placement exams that are scheduled to be given in May.
“I don’t think they’ll be able to finish the entire curriculum by then,” Rampersaud said. “I don’t even know how I’m going to catch up.”
Regarding the school days missed by students, Schall said he is waiting for direction from the State Education Department, but it is likely that the winter break in February could be cancelled as other districts have already done.
Schall also said that he anticipates many students to be back in school Tuesday as those families that evacuated have returned to the area. Some families are living with other relatives or friends and others hunkered down during Sandy and stayed in their homes.
“The silver lining is how every part of this community came together,” said Schall, who visited students and families throughout the district.
Tax deadline extended
Hewlett-Woodmere was one of several school districts that was granted a tax deadline extension through an executive order signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. District residents can now pay their taxes without incurring any penalties until Dec. 4. Students lost eight days of school due to Sandy and the nor’easter that closed school on Nov. 8. Lawrence was granted an extension of 21 days from the original Nov. 10 deadline.