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Long IslandNassau

Massapequa students return to classes two hours late

A tree crushes a fence and some playground

A tree crushes a fence and some playground equipment at Fairfield Elementary School in Massapequa. The district announced two-hour delays Monday morning. (March 14, 2010) Credit: Adam Daley

Students in the Massapequa school district were back in class late Monday morning, after the devastating weekend weather that ravaged Long Island's South Shore delayed the start of school.

"Everything went fine," Bob Schilling, the district's executive director, said Monday just before noon. "The schools were essentially ready to go this morning, no problem, but it was just that the rest of the community was a mess."

Schilling said the two-hour delayed start for all nine of the district's schools was implemented to give "everybody a couple of extra hours to get things in order."

The idea behind the delay was to make sure emergency crews could clear roads, providing safety for school buses, he said. Schilling said the district wanted to make sure downed trees and power lines were cleared from roadways before students headed to classes.

The announcements on delayed starting times came as emergency crews worked around the clock trying to restore power to customers across Long Island.

As of 11:30 a.m., more than 2,000 Massapequa residents were without power, according to LIPA.

On Sunday night, Massapequa school officials had announced the delayed start times at its nine schools - Massapequa High School, Massapequa High School-Ames Campus, Alfred G. Berner Middle School, Birch Lane Elementary School, East Lake Elementary School, Fairfield Elementary School, Raymond J. Lockhart Elementary School, Unqua Elementary School and the John P. Mckenna Elementary School.

The announcement was posted on the district Web site.

Meanwhile, the Elmont school district announced just before 5 a.m. that the Alden Terrace School would be closed Monday, due to "an electrical problem."

LIPA was in contact with school administrators all over Long Island throughout Sunday to update them on which schools would not have power restored by the normal start of school Monday. Earlier Sunday, 50 schools in at least 21 Long Island school districts were without power, officials said.

"Our crews have been working throughout the night to restore power," LIPA spokeswoman Elizabeth Flagler said Monday. She said more than 1,500 emergency workers were out in the field, addressing the issues of downed power lines.

"It's been an extraordinary amount of work," she said.


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