Two weeks after the storm, Long Beach students return to classes
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Parents were told not to drive students to school because neither the district nor city streets would be able to accommodate all the cars. At Tuesday’s meeting, parents congratulated school officials for their hard work and for opening the schools so quickly, but expressed concern about a shortage of school supplies, whether the school year would be cut short and classroom sizes and instruction. Some noted the confusion among students as they attempted to find their classes on their first day back.
“We had all of our classes on the third floor, and the middle school was on the second,” Krzeminski said. “It was a full day — for some reason we had two classes in one room. It was very hectic, but my classes were good on my first day back. It was pretty organized, it was just kind of crazy because there were so many kids in there. It’s going to take time.”
Weiss said that classroom “utilization will be tweaked” this week based on attendance. “We will make that work in a better way,” he said.
School board President Roy Lester said that the district was working to keep class sizes small, while school officials said that they expect the temporary plan to go more smoothly in the coming weeks. “The one thing you want to avoid is having too many kids in the classroom,” Lester said after the meeting. “More kids came back than anticipated, and the classes were a little crowded, and there are a lot of different ways to address that, but a lot of it depends on capacity.”
The Lido Complex, which includes the middle school, and West School suffered significant damage in the storm. Lester and others said that while they are working to reopen those buildings sometime after Thanksgiving, it was too early to pinpoint a specific date.
“We’re not sure how bad or good it’s going to be,” Lester said. “We could, theoretically, have the buildings ready as quickly as two weeks or, theoretically, as long as two months.”
Weiss said that school supplies are being replenished through donations and other efforts. He added that by law, the district is required to have a full school year of 180 days, and that vacation days will likely be used to offset lost instruction days.