Three weeks after the storm first hit, students and teachers at 12 city schools were back in their classrooms Monday including one in a hard-hit section of Brooklyn. NY1's Natasha Ghoneim filed the following report.
There was a little cheer from a teacher and plenty of enthusiasm Monday as PS 15 in Red Hook, Brooklyn opened its doors for the first time since Hurricane Sandy hit.
"It's like going home. Who don't want to go home," said one parent.
"I'm happy to come back to our own school because I wanted to come back to our school and be together," said one student.
Many students live in the Red Hook houses across the street. They suffered for weeks without power, heat and water. In fact, one tenant said even now her family is lucky to have hot water for an hour a day.
"Can we get some hot water. We have Thanksgiving coming up," said the tenant.
The students were relocated to a school nearby. Surrounded by such chaos, returning to their school routine was a welcome back to normal in at least one part of their lives.
"PS 15 is their home away from home. I'm thrilled and overwhelmed and touched just thinking about everything they've been through," said Marie Sarotniak, a PS 15 teacher.
On what was a day to celebrate, the children focused on enjoying the things they missed so much. And yes, that even includes homework.
"Now we get to play in the playground," said one PS 15 student.
"I'm happy bow because I get to do work now," said another PS 15 student.
"She had no homework like the whole two weeks they were back to school. Hopefully, now they'll get everything organized,' said one PS 15 parent.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said teachers have been fantastic going beyond their teaching duties.
"Being that supportive family member for a lot of the students and knowing their needs," noted Walcott. "Our goal has been to bring normalcy back to the school environment and making sure the students are learning."
There are still thousands of students who cannot go back to their schools due to extensive storm damage. The DOE says it could take until January to re-open the remaining 18 schools.