Fort Lee schools will be closed for the rest of the week, school officials announced Wednesday, as the borough and the school system begin the recovery process in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
“Obviously we’re dealing with unprecedented damage in our town and in our schools,” said Fort Lee Superintendent of Schools Steven Engravalle Wednesday. “School No. 4 was the only school that was unaffected. It still has power as of today. No windows were blown out—no damage, thankfully. Every other school has some damage in some way, shape or form at this point.”
Engravalle said the most damage occurred at Fort Lee School No. 3, where a roof blew off. He said custodians were working at the school Wednesday trying to remove water, and that a roofing company was doing an “emergency patch repair” just in case it rains over the next few days. But Engravalle called that a “temporary fix.”
“We’re going to need to get an engineer in there to look for structural damage to make sure the classrooms are safe,” he said.
Engravalle added that school officials were informed by PSE&G that, “we would be lucky to have power by Saturday.”
Calling conditions after the storm “a war zone, not only in our town,” he added that school officials are also concerned about teachers and other staff members, many of whom come from other areas.
“We have folks who were moved from their houses and evacuated, some staff that are under four or five feet of water so we’re doing the best that we can to provide a safe amount of time for people to get their lives back together,” Engravalle said.
He also said the school district’s emergency alert system that notifies parents and staff members is still not working, but that school officials are working to fix the problem.
Patch will also continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.