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Emotional Students, Teachers Head Back To School On Long Beach 2 Weeks After Sandy

Schools in Long Beach, Long Island reopen more than two weeks after Superstorm Sandy on Nov. 13, 2012 (credit: CBS 2)

Schools in Long Beach, Long Island reopen more than two weeks after Superstorm Sandy on Nov. 13, 2012 (credit: CBS 2)

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Superstorm Sandy

LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork)Long Beach school reopened Tuesday for the first time since Superstorm Sandy struck just before Halloween.

It had been two weeks with no school for nearly 4,000 public school students. Three school buildings had significant damage because of the storm, so all the students had to cram into the high school and two elementary schools.

1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reports


And the first day back was not without a struggle for many students and teachers alike.

Judging from the excitement on the faces of kids and parents you could almost mistake Tuesday for the first day of school, CBS 2′s Kathryn Brown reported.

However, there was an emotional element present that made it clear the kids had been through something over the past two weeks that changed their lives.

“I’m a little nervous to go back to school,” said third-grader Alex Farrell.

Alex hadn’t been to school in more than two weeks — since Sandy struck and shook the definition of “normal” forever.

Farrell attends Lido Elementary in Long Beach, but will be attending Lindell Elementary while repairs are being made at his school, Brown reported.

“I think it’s helpful that we’re all back in a routine and we’re gonna see all of our friends that we don’t know what happened to,” said resident Laura Grossman.

But for some parents, getting school back in session has been a long, slow process.

“Very frustrating. He hasn’t been to school the whole month of November,” parent Michelle Zibroki told CBS 2′s Brown.

For every student and teacher in Long Beach, there was a story. Many lost power for days on end; some lost their favorite toys.

Others like fifth-grader Amy Ramon, lost their entire homes.

“It’s really tough because we had to move from one place to another because this hurricane happened,” Ramon said.

High school sophomore John Langdon said it was good to be back in school.

“It definitely feels better, because it’s like, with everything happening, it’s just good to kind of get going,” he said.

Madison, 10, said her class did a little bit of work and did a lot of talking about the devastation in the city. She thought the move was a good idea.

“It makes people feel like, ‘I’m not the only one who lost everything,’” Madison said.

School officials said they were glad to see students back in class.

“We’re really glad to see our kids here because we didn’t know where they were,” said Long Beach Public Schools Superintendent David Weiss.

Weiss said the decision to combine schools and get kids back in a routine was an easy one, but it was laced with logistical challenges.

“A lot of our staff live in Long Beach — most do — and a lot of them were displaced and almost all of them lost their cars,” Weiss said. “We are busing kids in from around the county.”

Still, they are here, many coming on foot and welcoming students back with a smile, a high-five and an opportunity to teach life lessons they never dreamed of, Brown reported.

“Well they’re gonna start anew and maybe they’ll talk about what happened — and maybe not — and they’ll just continue to have some normalcy in their lives,” one parent told Brown.

It is unclear how long the schools will be combined. But school officials said they hope the Lido school complex will be ready to re-open sometime between Thanksgiving and winter break.

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