New York City has worked hard to reopen all public schools as quickly as possible since Hurricane Sandy battered them with flooding, blackouts, and damaged heaters and equipment, but progress has finally taken a significant step forward in recent days.
For the first time this week, students were finally able to return to their actual schools, as opposed to the replacement transfer schools located in other districts, and attendance has surged to over 90 percent according to a story by NY1. That is a massive increase for a school like Brighton Beach’s own P.S. 253, for which only 12 percent of students showed up at their temporary location in Flatbush.
Part of the problem with the temporary locations set up by the city was the lack of reliable transportation. Many parents had no access to cars or the subways in the weeks following the storm, and a citywide school bus shortage limited the amount available pickup sites.
Even in areas where the regular schools have not reopened, like for Coney Island’s P.S. 188, a return to normal school bus service yesterday helped the replacement location at P.S. 281 in Bensonhurst receive an 80 percent attendance rate. While bus service has increased, so has the chaos that ensued for parents and children trying to figure out a way to navigate to their new destinations.
“A bunch of kids screaming, a little girl screaming,” said one student to NY1. “It was confusing.”
Crowding, chaos, and confusion aside, the return to normal attendance numbers is an encouraging sign for students of Southern Brooklyn looking for any kind of normalcy.