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Storm forces many LI schools to close Friday for 2nd day

Neal Myer, 9, of Syosset, sleds on a

Neal Myer, 9, of Syosset, sleds on a snowbank near his home as heavy snow begins to subside in the early evening on Thursday, Jan 4, 2018. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Public school systems and private schools across Long Island, citing icy roads and frigid temperatures in the aftermath of Thursday’s brutal snowstorm, will be closed Friday for a second day.

The Central Islip school district, at midafternoon, was among the first public systems on the Island to make the decision regarding Friday, while Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School in Riverhead was one of the first parochial schools to publicly make its announcement.

As evening approached, a steady stream of districts and schools, as well as universities and colleges, announced Friday shutdowns.

For a current listing of closures and delays, check Newsday’s website.

All 124 public districts and private schools across Nassau and Suffolk counties, as well as New York City’s massive public school system, were closed Thursday as the storm pummeled the metropolitan area with band after band of wind-driven snow amid frigid temperatures.

The city school system, which has 1.1 million students across the five boroughs, said it will be open on Friday.

In Central Islip, Superintendent Howard Koenig made the decision for his district after 3:30 p.m. Thursday, largely because of the forecast for below-zero temperatures, spokeswoman Barbara LaMonica said.

“With the blizzard conditions expected to persist into the early morning hours into Friday, there’s no foreseeable way these roads will be clear,” LaMonica said, noting that the area has many narrow streets that would pose difficulties for 66-passenger buses.

“The safety of the students would be imperiled if we were to put them on the streets in the morning waiting for the school bus, with maybe some impassable roads,” she said. “There’s no place for the children to stand.”

LaMonica said the decision gives the town added time to clear snow and ice “to make wider path clearance . . . for students to stand safely on the bus stops.”

In Springs, Superintendent Debra Winter said at midday that the district was considering closing, as more than a foot of snow had accumulated in Quogue and high winds were affecting snow-removal efforts.

Later Thursday, when the district announced it would be closed Friday, Winter wrote in an email, “Due to the high wind and bitter cold temperatures, very little work has been done to clear side roads.”

David Gamberg, who is superintendent of the Southold and Greenport districts, said in an interview that while “sometimes the calls are tricky . . . I think it’s pretty clear we’ve gotten a pretty strong storm here, both in terms of the cleanup and the safety of the students.”

The Half Hollow Hills district in Dix Hills, on its website, cited “hazardous road conditions” for the closure.

Superintendent Patrick Harrigan, in a statement, said, “The decision was made out of concern for our students and staff traveling on roads that even after having been cleared, will have been covered by snow from powerful winds and be frozen overnight due to the extreme temperatures.”

At least one Long Island system looked to the future regarding Thursday’s closure: Plainview-Old Bethpage said the snow day will be made up by holding classes on May 25, the Friday before Memorial Day.

The last time that Long Island public schools were closed because of a snowstorm for two consecutive days was on Feb. 9 and 10 of last year — also a Thursday and a Friday.

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