Sandy kept students out of the classroom for over a week, and state officials are still determining whether or not to waive the 180-day school year requirement to ease recovery on districts and students alike.
Long Island schools are closed today in observance of Veterans Days, but students in Nassau and Suffolk counties have experienced a handful of days home from school, and out of the classroom, in the past two weeks. Long Beach schools, located in the heart of one of the island’s hardest hit regions, will be opening on Tuesday.
Aside from the lengthy school closures spread across Nassau and Suffolk counties, over 100 Long Island schools require repairs due to damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. State education and local school officials assessed the damages to Long Island schools last week, including those in flooded areas such as Island Park, East Rockaway and Long Beach.
Fortunately, repair work is well underway, and the cost to the state and school districts will be less than 25 percent unless entirely waived for the school district.
One thing that cannot be made-up for is the loss of classroom time. State law requires that school years are a minimum of 180 days long, and state officials are encouraging districts to cancel vacation time in order to meet the requirement. There is a possibility that the state requirement may be waived in order to help the districts recover.
School buildings were not the only educational resources damaged or destroyed by the storm. Cargo containers in Long Beach, used to store equipment for the district’s new science labs were completely flooded.
Gov. Cuomo extended the period that residents in 34 Nassau County school districts have to pay their school taxes. The 21-day extension “will help provide extra time and extra peace of mind to many of those New Yorkers whose lives have been disrupted by Hurricane Sandy,” the governor said. More districts may be added to the list, providing time for districts still coping with the loss of electricity.
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