School officials announced Sunday that all Fort Lee public schools will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, and that they hope to be able to open on Wednesday, which is far from a certainty.
Superintendent Steven Engravalle told Patch that “while we apologize” to those people who were concerned that they hadn’t heard anything until Sunday, “there was nothing to update anyone on, as nothing had changed.”
He also said school officials had a Sunday Noon deadline to make a decision about school on Monday—Tuesday was already scheduled as a day off because of the election—and that he wanted to hold off as long as he possibly could to see if schools could possibly open Monday.
“We still have no power at the high school; we don’t have a timeframe even of when that’s going to be restored,” Engravalle said Sunday. “We are hopeful to open on Wednesday, but we need to re-assess the situation, obviously, as we get closer to that date. We are hopeful, and it is our goal, to be open on Wednesday and hopefully for the rest of the week to make up some days.”
If it does work out to re-open schools on Wednesday, school officials hope to have school on Thursday and Friday as well.
Those days—Nov. 8 and 9—were scheduled to be off days because of the Teachers Convention, but the damage left by Sandy forced the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) to cancel its convention in Atlantic City last week.
“I’m going to be talking to my teachers’ association because I’d like to open Thursday and Friday in accordance with the governor’s recommendation now that the teachers association cancelled their convention,” Engravalle said. “But I do want to discuss that with them first, obviously, and I’m sure they’ll be understanding.”
The closure Monday and lack of power at the high school also means that the Fort Lee Board of Education’s special meeting scheduled for Monday evening is also cancelled; the school district’s central offices will also be closed.
“Always our intention is to make the best decision possible with the most information possible, and so while some school districts [announced closures for this week] last Friday, I didn’t want to do that because it’s our goal to get kids back in school and learning, and back to as normal a routine as possible as quickly as possible,” Engravalle said.