For Wyckoff Public Schools, Much is Unknown after Hurricane Sandy

None of the township's schools are ready to accommodate the return of students just yet, but Superintendent Rich Kuder is hopeful that utility crews and Wyckoff's DPW can get children back to class by next week.

Wyckoff Public School officials are planning to have children return to school next week after 5 days of missed classes following Hurricane Sandy. Plans are tentative, however, and depend on when power returns to the township's five schools.

Superintendent Rich Kuder said Friday that if the schools get electricity back over the weekend, children could return to classes as early as Monday.

"We want to get the kids back to a sense of normalcy, [but] each school is in a different place," Kuder said. 

Washington Elementary School was hit the hardest by Hurricane Sandy, Kuder said, with wires pulled down and some of the power infrastructure ripped from the building. 

"We're waiting to hear from [Orange & Rockland as to when it would be] back online," he said. "All the other schools have minimum damage." 

If power is back by Tuesday, schools will be open for classes on Election Day "with additional supervision" because of the presence of non-school related adults in the building, Kuder said.

Voting will take place — as normal — in four of the five schools across the township, the exception being Washington Elementary School, Wyckoff Mayor Chris DePhillips said Friday. If power is not restored by Tuesday, the township would supply generators for lighting and election apparatuses so that voting can take place as usual, the mayor said.

One of the lingering questions for parents is what happens if one school is able to reopen, but not the other four. How about if three can reopen but not the other two? 

"We could maybe try to accommodate [some of the displaced children] at the other schools," Kuder said. "There are lots of things we could put into place like split sessions... [but] it's challenging no matter how you look at it."

If only one school restores full power, it's not likely that children would be asked to return.

Beyond power at the schools, safety on the streets of Wyckoff remained an issue, but one Kuder was optimistic was under control.

"Its our belief that the DPW has been working so hard to clear the streets... that we would be able to get buses through or have parents drive," he said. "But, we wouldn't expect anyone to risk their lives to get to school. 

Previously scheduled parent/teacher conferences are postponed until further notice, Kuder also said.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Joseph M. Gerace at Joseph.Gerace@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.


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