As more than 90 percent of city schoolchildren head to school today for their first day back after Hurricane Sandy, some with extra sweaters to ward off cold, Department of Education officials will have their sights set on the 102 schools that still cannot reopen.
The number of school buildings unable to accommodate students fluctuated over the weekend, but by Sunday night, department officials determined that 57 schools were so damaged that they must be relocated and 29 schools still lacked power, down from nearly 200 at the beginning of the weekend. Another 16 schools are housed in eight buildings that have for the last week been used as shelters for New Yorkers displaced from homes and hospitals by the storm.
The roughly 73,000 students who attend the schools are expected to return to classes on Wednesday, after the entire city takes another break for Election Day on Tuesday, when many schools will function as polling centers.
In the next two days, officials aim for power to be restored to schools that lack it, shelters closed and cleaned, and damaged schools shoehorned into other locations. But Mayor Bloomberg said the transition back to school — coming after students and teachers alike have had their homes and neighborhoods disruption — would likely be rocky.
“We just can’t predict who’s going to show up where … and we’re obviously going to have problems,” Bloomberg said during a news conference on Sunday. “We’ll just have to bear it, but we’ll have a day between the first day and the second day of school – namely Tuesday – and we’re going to use that day to straighten things out to the best of our ability.”
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