Schools closed, activities canceled for Friday

Southold Town Highway Department in Peconic prepares with

Southold Town Highway Department in Peconic prepares with 12 sanders and 24 snowplows for the first snowstorm of the new year. (Jan. 2, 2014) Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

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Several school districts canceled classes for Friday as a snowstorm bore down on Long Island. Many of the Island's 124 districts had not planned to reopen until Monday following the two-week holiday recess.

David Feller, president of the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents and superintendent of North Merrick schools, said the decision to close all four elementary districts that feed into the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School district was made Thursday morning. Parents were alerted about noon.

Feller said he consulted with officials from all the other districts about the plans. Along with North Merrick, the districts of Bellmore, North Bellmore and Merrick are in the high school district. He noted that the weather forecast had remained consistent.

"It is usually not done this early," Feller said. "More often than not, we are speaking in the wee hours of the night and monitoring the weather."

A handful of schools canceled classes or released students early Thursday, well ahead of the forecasted blizzard-like conditions.

The West Hempstead school district noted on its website that school was closed Thursday "due to the impending storm."

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Northport-East Northport school officials canceled Friday's classes. The district had posted the notice of an early release for students Thursday on its website, saying that "due to the hazardous road conditions as reported by our district bus drivers and the governor's warning, there will be an early release of students . . . All after-school and evening activities have been canceled."

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday afternoon ordered the Long Island Expressway closed at midnight from the Queens/Nassau County order all the way east. State parkways were to remain open.

Richard Rozakis, superintendent of Babylon schools, posted on the district website shortly after noon Thursday that "due to imminent blizzard conditions and freezing wind chills in the single digits," schools will be closed Friday.


Lorna Lewis, superintendent of the Plainview-Old Bethpage school district, said the district canceled all after-school activities Thursday and was monitoring the weather along with officials from nearby districts, such as Hicksville and Jericho.

The district later canceled classes and all activites Friday. 

Lewis said the district has not used any snow days in the 2013-14 academic year.

"Superstorm Sandy taught us one thing -- build in snow days," Lewis said. "We have six built in and we haven't used any yet. We are in good shape for this year."

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