Hudson Valley, NYC schools closed Wednesday
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All New York City and virtually all Hudson Valley schools will be closed for a third straight day Wednesday, as the state recovers from flooding, power outages and other damage from Hurricane Sandy.
Two of the state's largest school districts, Yonkers and New York City, will be shuttered, as well as schools throughout Westchester, Rockland and the Hudson Valley. It was impossible to verify whether all of the 101 public school districts in the six-county Hudson Valley region will be closed because schools suffered power outages and some district websites were inaccessible.
"If the kids and the teachers can't get to school safely, then we all need to be home," said Lisa Ferrara, president of the Dobbs Ferry Parent Teacher Student Association. Dobbs Ferry schools will not be open Wednesday.
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Yonkers Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio decided to close schools Wednesday because of general safety issues, spokeswoman Maura Lamoreaux said.
The city is littered with fallen trees and struggling with power outages, and workers are assessing damage to school buildings, Yonkers officials said.
Communication with school employees is also difficult because the district's Internet infrastructure was damaged by the storm, making email inaccessible for employees, Pierorazio explained.
Several buildings in the White Plains school district have no power, so schools also will be closed there Wednesday, spokeswoman Michele Schoenfeld said.
Middletown schools superintendent Ken Eastwood decided to close his district about 4:30 p.m., though Orange County Executive Ed Diana lifted an order that schools must close, leaving the decision to education officials. Eastwood said there were still issues with some of the Middletown school buildings, but he also feared teachers traveling from harder-hit areas wouldn't make it to work.
"I was concerned about getting enough staff in to run the buildings," Eastwood said.
The few school systems that are scheduled to be open on Wednesday have delayed classes. They include the Greenburgh-Graham School District in Hastings-on-Hudson, delayed until 11:00 a.m.; the Hawthorne-Cedar Knolls School District in Hawthorne, delayed until 11 a.m.; the Lois Bronz Children's Center in White Plains, delayed until 10 a.m.; Mt. Pleasant-Blythedale School District in Valhalla, delayed until 10:15 a.m.; and Putnam Head Start in Brewster, with a two-hour delay.
Most parents understand that the storm has wreaked havoc on roads and power lines.
"We don't want our kids to be in a dangerous situation," said Kelly Chiarella, director of the Westchester East Putnam Region PTA. "There's not only trees down, but power is out and there are still tree branches hanging."