Most school districts in the area will open today, though some along the coast and two districts still sheltering evacuees will remain closed until Monday at least.
School officials will also begin juggling their calendars to see where they can make up the lost days.
Locally, Pinelands Regional and schools in Margate, Ventnor, Ocean City, Avalon, Stone Harbor and Stafford Township will remain closed today and Friday because of storm cleanup and power outages. School officials said they want to be sure their schools and towns were safe for students, and they want evacuees to have time to return to their homes.
Buena Regional and Pleasantville public schools and St. Augustine Preparatory School will remain closed today and Friday because schools in the district are sheltering evacuees from Hurricane Sandy.
Atlantic City and Brigantine schools will be closed today, and possibly Friday.
Maintenance staff at Atlantic City schools will report to work to clean up and prepare the schools to open. School district security chief Dewane Parker said there was some minimal water damage at some schools. Atlantic City High School is also serving as an evacuation shelter for some 200 city residents.
Brigantine Superintendent Robert Previti said he will be surveying the school and the city today to see if the school is ready to open, and if roads are clear and safe enough for students and buses to travel.
“We are looking at it day to day,” Previti said. “But we had major catastrophic damage. The probability that we will be closed Friday is high.”
Stafford Township School District in Ocean County will offer its “extended-day” services at the Primary Learning Center from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for a cost of $30. Half-day sessions are also available for $15. A cold lunch will be provided and students are encouraged to bring handheld electronic devices or board games. Parents can call 609-839-9995 for more information.
“We recognize that parents may need this service because they need to return to work, assist family members and neighbors, or begin clean up of damage to their homes,” Stafford school spokesperson Karina Monanian said.
The middle and high schools in both Pleasantville and Buena Regional were designated as county evacuation sites for the Red Cross, though school officials did not anticipate evacuees would remain for the week. Several hundred people were still at those schools Wednesday.
Buena Regional school officials posted a notice on the school website saying they were hopeful that the county Office of Emergency Management can find alternative locations for the evacuees, but it will likely not occur before the weekend so schools would remain closed.
Pleasantville Superinten-dent Garnell Bailey said school staff would also need time to clean the schools before they reopened for students.
“And right now we really don’t know when they might leave,” she said.
School officials in districts that are opening said they worked with local police and emergency management personnel to make sure they agreed it was safe to open schools.
“We stayed closed Wednesday because they felt there were still some power lines down and it wasn’t safe for all our families,” Northfield School Superintendent Janice Fipp said.
Both Northfield and Somers Point opened late in September because of mold problems and will now have to find a way to make up even more school days. State law requires that students attend school for 180 days in a school year, which ends June 30.
Fipp said she prefers to not just add the days at the end of the year since students are already distracted in June and ready to get to the beach. She said they may take more time from the spring break.
Somers Point Superinten-dent Jeff Miller said they may have to add the days at the end of the year, which would push the last day of school to June 21.
Margate Superintendent Theresa DeFranco said they built two “snow days” into the calendar, and will survey parents and staff to see if they would prefer to take the other three days out of the spring break or add them in June.
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