Updated 11/06/2012 12:10 PM
Most Schools Reopen, But Thousands Of Students Must Be Relocated By Wednesday
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The vast majority of the city's public school students were back in class Monday after getting an unscheduled week off.
While the city reopened about 90 percent of schools Monday, 102 schools remain closed, leaving some 73,000 students still at home.
About 85.2 percent of students and 94 percent of teachers attended school Monday, even though three dozen schools did not have heat.
All city public will be closed on Tuesday, due to Election Day.
"We have tomorrow as a day to look and see what worked and what didn't work give us some hope," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Monday.
However, the Department of Education reversed a previous decision to close all charter schools on Election Day, and now a few dozens charters in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx will have Tuesday classes.
See which city charter schools will be open on Tuesday.
DOE officials say on Wednesday about 23,000 students have to be relocated from schools that have "structural damage."
By Monday night, 18 schools were still without power, 48 were damaged and 16 were being used as shelters.
Damaged sustained by schools included flooded basements, blown out transformers, flooded boilers and oil tanks, damaged ceilings and loose electrical wiring.
Students at affected schools will be relocated to new schools starting Wednesday.
At P.S. 188 in the East Village, teachers chipped in to buy families hot breakfast on the first day back to school Monday.
The rest of the food was donated by a caterer from Staten Island. Many students had not had hot meals in a week.
The elementary school offered story after story about generous teachers, relieved parents and children who were happy to be in class once again.
"I missed school because I like my education," said a student.
Things were far from perfect. One kindergartner could no longer walk across the street to his school, so he had to take a subway and two buses from Brooklyn. The shelter his family lived in before the storm is still closed, and they have moved among several evacuation shelters.
Still, the boy's mother made sure he got to school.
"Education is more important than anything," she said.
Students and educators at unheated schools managed to make do.
"The teachers went to buy blankets for the students and the kids are pulling through together, sharing gloves and keeping each other warm," said Linda Gavin, a parent of a student at the American Sign Language and English School.
"They get three hot meals a day when they're in school, so we want all of our kids back so we can take care of them," said Principal Mary Pree of P.S. 188.
Eight large high school buildings still serve as evacuation shelters. The original plan was to open those schools Monday, but a NY1 report on Friday revealed that one of those schools was unsanitary and seemed unsafe.
The mayor has admitted space constraints and safety concerns caused him to change his mind and keep students out of those eight schools for at least one more day.
On Wednesday, the city public school system will face its biggest test: finding space and transportation for tens of thousands of students whose schools were severely damaged and need a new place to learn.
For details on everything school-related, visit schools.nyc.gov or call 311.
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