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New York City Anticipates Turmoil as Most Students Resume Classes

As the city struggles to get back on its feet, some children are facing uncertain conditions in local schools.

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“I’m sure we’re going to miss some people,” he said. “That’s just the reality of doing something we have to do quickly.”

He added, “It is complex and people are going to make mistakes. People are going to be misinformed. We know that.”

Some families could be misinformed in the other direction. Students at some schools where power was restored over the weekend got calls telling them that they would not have classes today even though their schools are open for business. At Harvest Collegiate High School and the Beacon School, both in Manhattan, school officials reached out to students to let them know they should attend today after learning that some had been told to stay home.

Bloomberg also emphasized that reengineering bus routes for the tens of thousands of students who will be relocated would likely not come without problems, and that downed trees and many news drivers could complicate routes even for students whose schools emerged unscathed. As temperatures dipped near freezing, he warned that some students could be left out in the cold.

“I’m sure there’s going to be cases where just the driver made a mistake on the route and we didn’t get to everybody,” Bloomberg said. “We’re trying to do our best, and I want to support them and give them all the tools that we possibly can, knowing that it’s not going to be perfect.”

Even in schools that are reopening on schedule, conditions might not be optimal. Three dozen schools are opening with power but no assurance of heat, and Bloomberg said on Sunday that parents should make sure to send their children off today with “extra sweaters.”

But for the most part, the city is viewing the return to school as an important step in the storm recovery process. P.S. 195 in Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, is located just a block off the water and suffered severe flooding, a broken boiler system, and loss of power during the storm; last week, a watermark stretched across its front door while mansions a block away had their facades completely ripped away. This afternoon, Bloomberg and Chancellor Dennis Walcott will visit the school to welcome students back to class.

Philissa Cramer is managing editor of GothamSchools. She founded GothamSchools’ newsroom in September 2008 and previously launched Insideschools’ first news blog.