After a week off, students head back to schools
by Kathleen Lees
Nov 07, 2012 | 3838 views | 0 0 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print

After nearly a week off, public school students – most of them at least – headed back to classrooms on Monday.

That included P.S. 58 at 72-50 Grand Ave. in Maspeth, which opened along with approximately 90 percent of city schools closed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

“Thank God we're up and about,” said Marilyn Ruiz, a bus attendant with the school.

Ready to take students home, Ruiz said officials had worked hard to ensure that all school buses would have gasoline for their vehicles.

After school, parents shared how they coped with the last week.

Maspeth resident and parent Jose Rodriguez said he filled up his family's car before the hurricane hit. “We were really lucky,” Rodriguez said, whose wife, a housekeeper in Brooklyn, was able to work during the majority of the hurricane with the help of their vehicle. “I don't know what we would have done without it.”

Rodriguez, who works as a waiter in downtown Manhattan, said he stayed home with his children during the past week because public transportation was down, and when the hurricane hit, Rodriguez said his apartment lost power.

“Everything was so dark,” Rodriguez said, but added that electricity was back up and running Wednesday morning. In the meantime, his six-year-old son, Jose, and his 12-year-old son, Matelo, enjoyed some family fun with board games by candlelight.

Parent Violet Calaghan said she also enjoyed having her 10-year old daughter Katty and six-year old son Shane home, but stressed that the hurricane has put a drastic damper on all public transportation.

According to MTA spokesperson Charles Seaton, both the L and G trains linking Brooklyn and Manhattan are down and do not have not a scheduled date to be back and up and running at this time.

Along with trains, cars and buses are feeling the frustration of limited gas throughout the city.

After returning from the movies on Thursday, Calaghan said the Q60 on Queens Boulevard was three hours late picking anyone up. “They just wouldn't stop,” Calaghan said, who felt that limited services may have been in the hopes of conserving fuel. She added that her family was still without internet and cable at their home.

Despite the opening of a majority of the city's schools, about 100 educational facilities are still not in use due to the loss of power or other damage from flooding, or because they are still being used as evacuation centers. Students will be joining different area schools until damages can be fixed.

Maxine L. Witherspoon, parent coordinator at P.S. 58, said that while she knew there were many educational facilities that were still not open, at this time, staff was not sure if they would be seeing the temporary addition of any new students to their school.

“It's our first day back,” Witherspoon said. “We're slow moving, but we're getting back on track.”

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