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Philly schools prepare to re-open

Photo: Benjamin Herold, for NewsWorks

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

by Benjamin Herold, for NewsWorks, a Notebook news partner

After being spared from the worst of Hurricane Sandy’s wrath, all of Philadelphia’s 239 traditional public schools, as well as the city’s charter and Catholic schools, will re-open Wednesday.

In Ocean City, N.J. — one of the region’s hardest-hit areas — schools will be closed for at least another day. Many other school districts in the region had yet to make a determination as of Tuesday afternoon.

In the Radnor Township School District, "There’s power in all of our buildings, and we’re currently in the process of assessing the safety of getting students to schools based on downed trees and power lines," said Michael Pettiti, communications coordinator for that school district.

"We’ll be notifying parents through the normal channels as soon as we can."

In Philadelphia, about 50 School District employees began conducting bottom-to-top building inspections at daybreak.

At Bache-Martin Elementary in Fairmount, workers found downed waterspouts and window screens outside the school, flaking plaster from the ceiling of the building’s foyer, and puddles spreading across the floor of one classroom.

"This is very typical of what we’ve seen. Nothing that would shut a school down, but we do have to get in there and clean it up before tomorrow," said Ralph Zambrano, the District’s citywide operations manager.

In a Tuesday afternoon press conference, Philadelphia Superintendent William Hite said schools would operate on a normal schedule, though some buses may be delayed.

Richard Stepura, the interim county superintendent for both Cape May and Gloucester Counties in New Jersey, said local districts there were still reviewing their options Tuesday afternoon.

"Each individual community will have to assess if there are any flooding conditions that still exist," Stepura said. "They have to check out their buildings to see if there’s any damage or not and to see if they’ve been affected by power outages."

For a complete list of school closings, visit NewsWorks partner WCAU-NBC10.

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