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Superintendent: Long Beach Schools May Open Next Tuesday

School staff and voters stood outside Lindell School on Election Day, after smoke in the building set off fire alarm and beckoned firefighters to the scene.
School staff and voters stood outside Lindell School on Election Day, after smoke in the building set off fire alarm and beckoned firefighters to the scene.

Long Beach Public Schools will reopen no earlier than next week, more than two weeks after Hurricane Sandy slammed Long Beach, according to Superintendent Dr. David Weiss.

After a nearly two-hour meeting with the Board of Education at Lindell School Tuesday evening, Weiss said the district will try to open some schools on Nov. 13, after school officials had wanted to try a partial reopening on Wednesday, a plan that they rethought due a nor’easter that is expected to hit Long Island the next two days.

“We were trying really hard to open school tomorrow on a partial basis; with the impending weather it makes absolutely no sense for us to try that,” Weiss told Patch on Tuesday.

He said that while not all of the schools buildings are fully prepared to reopen yet, the district expects to have three sites functioning on Nov. 13. Those buildings are Lindell, East School and Long Beach High School. “We expect to have them ready,” Weiss said. “I can’t tell you that we will.”  

Meanwhile, the district still has considerable logistics to work out in order to transport students to schools, since many have been displaced with their families to areas throughout Nassau County after the hurricane knocked out electric, water, sewage, Internet and phone services in the city Oct. 29.

“We’ll be transporting kids from around the county back to the district,” Weiss said. “That location and identification process is going on right now.”

On Tuesday, district buses picked up hundreds of displaced teachers and other staff members at train stations in Oceanside and Freeport and transported them to Lindell School for a staff meeting Tuesday morning. Approximately 65 percent of district staff lives in Long Beach, Weiss said.  

“We’re going to expand well beyond that as we identify where kids are,” he explained. “...”What’s different about Long Beach from the rest of the county is that people may have lost electricity, but we’ve lost our people. And most of the people who stayed in Long Beach during the storm lost their cars.”

The superintendent said that daily updates will be posted on the district website by 6 p.m. each day, as well as possible mid-day updates.

The latest update reads: “At this time, we understand that there are many questions, including many logistical ones.  We will be providing detailed answers to these questions on the lbeach.org website. Please continue to check for continued updates. On Friday, November 9th, the Long Beach staff will be meeting at the Lindell School from 9am to 12 pm to plan for the arrival of our children on Tuesday.”

Since Long Beach is without Internet access, parents and students should try to find a “web buddy’— a person who has access to the web, since problems with communication and transportation are the two greatest hurdles the district presently faces, Weiss said.

Moreover, the four Long Beach sports teams that were scheduled to participate in the playoffs this weekend will play, the superintendent said. The varsity football team that is scheduled to play at Carey on Saturday, however, lost their equipment in the storm. But Weiss said the district would borrow equipment from other school districts.

“But when we take donations, it’s for all out teams, not just one team,” he said.

* Joley Welkowitz contributed to this story. 
Carly November 07, 2012 at 07:36 AM
From what I heard, the supt mtg was poorly organized. Teachers will NOT focus on instruction, but rather team-building exercises. For students who want to learn, Weis's directive is another unnecessary tragedy
Robin November 07, 2012 at 09:22 AM
As a business owner that provides a service to my clients, I have never said, " maybe I will open Tuesday"; this is unacceptable. Consider the kids and parents your clients--without us you don't have a job. That means you need to service us; you need to communicate! The conflicting messages we are receiving allows to think there is complete chaos. We need information--we demand information! Just a few Questions: 1. What is the state of each school? 2. What is the city's plan to fix the schools? Are they working on them now? 3. Have you considered online assignments and online schooling options so the children do not fall behind? 4. Are there facilities for temporary schooling in neighboring towns that can be used? Or in LB? 5. Who are the leaders or board members working on this? How can the parents help?
Hilary Topper November 07, 2012 at 10:32 AM
I'm concerned about their communication methods. First the school district tells us to call a specific number. When we call, it says the lines are busy and call again. I must have called 25 times. Then when I went to the web, it said to register there, which I did. But what about all the people who have no internet access? A "web buddy" system seems silly when so many people still have no cell service or phone service in Long Beach.
ally K November 08, 2012 at 08:32 AM
In my opinion, everyone needs to give the school district and city a break. Many of the city workers and teachers live here which means they are in the samel nightmare as you. Before you make comments think about what is happening here.... Blackheath, Lido, Middle School, West school all have been hit with extreme damage. Lindell, High school, and East have damage but not as much. They are trying to get schools open. The Army Corp of Engineers have to say its safe, power via lines or generators is needed, they are trying to combine schools, I could go on and on with everything they need to do to get the schools up and running. It's not like they just walk in and turn the lights on and its back to normal give these people a break they are your neighbors! Communication the cell and internet service in Long Beach is terrible right now they are doing their best
lbpatriot November 10, 2012 at 08:07 AM
This is an unprecedented event. All emergency plans have pretty much been thrown out the window. While I'm also not thrilled with Districts outreach, it is a day by day call.
lbpatriot November 10, 2012 at 08:10 AM
Services are tentative. People want answers and some normalcy bake. The district is most likely trying to encourage families that they are there an doing something. They have the same bad cell and Internet service we have. As with other service organizations, they're thinking in the run.
Peggy Mahoney November 11, 2012 at 11:38 AM
My son said "Mom you will never hear me say this again, but I want to go to school." He will be there whenever we are told. God Bless Long Beach and its people.
Patrice Krzeminski November 15, 2012 at 12:14 PM
The SD is doing an absolutelty wonderful job! Think about it, the Superintendant has to deal with losses and damages of his own BUT is putting the district first. WIth that said he and the board have put together this plan, almost as if starting a new school year - they usually have the entire summer for this but only had a few days with many obstacles in their way that normally wouldnt be there such as, air quality, electricity, food for students, transporation being the biggest issue, etc. They have overcome some tough obsaticles and gotten our kids back to school. It may not be all sunshine and roses right now but it's close as it can be in times like this. Give the district a break please. We have NO IDEA how many hours have been spent planning and implementing the new procedures that have been put into place. The first day back to school went very smooth which says a lot for our SD. Thank you to all our teachers, staff, and administration for all your hard work and committment to our children and their education!

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