Students head back to school Wednesday
By Emma Brown and Ovetta Wiggins,
After two days of unexpected vacation courtesy of Superstorm Sandy, hundreds of thousands of students across the Washington area are slated to head back to school Wednesday.
Their parents — a little weary after 48 hours of so much indoor together time — were thrilled.
“You have to be creative to keep a 6- and 7-year-old occupied,” said Nicole Nelson of Accokeek, whose two kids kept busy with everything from watching television to practicing multiplication tables.
Closed schools, coupled with sodden parks and canceled extracurricular activities as a result of the storm, left families suffering from cabin fever and seeking refuge wherever they could find it. One popular escape was Arlington’s JW Tumbles, a play space for young children.
“Essentially a hamster maze where they can run around and run themselves ragged,” said Sandra Alboum, who was sitting in the hallway while her children, ages 4 and 6, played inside. “I’m crawling up walls. I had to get out. They had to get out.”
Prince George’s and Montgomery counties announced late Tuesday morning that they would resume classes Wednesday. A few hours later, D.C. public schools followed suit, with Chancellor Kaya Henderson joking that she’d received multiple e-mails from parents begging her to reopen the schools after what became a four-day weekend.
Fairfax County, the largest school system in the region, also planned to open on time Wednesday, though officials cautioned that buses might be late as drivers work around road closures throughout the county.
About two dozen Fairfax schools were still without power Tuesday afternoon, but officials expected electricity to be restored in time for school Wednesday.
Loudoun County Public Schools are scheduled to open one hour late Wednesday so that all bus pickups can occur in daylight, allowing drivers to check for downed power lines, Loudoun schools spokesman Wayde Byard said.
Byard said power is expected to be restored to all schools by late Tuesday evening, with the exception of Lovettsville Elementary, which is part of a broader area outage. Dominion hopes to have power restored to the school before morning, Byard said, but the school will be prepared to relocate students should there be a continuing problem Wednesday.
More than 70 bus routes will be altered due to flooding, particularly in western Loudoun, Byard said.
Alexandria schools plan to operate on a normal schedule Wednesday, and officials there will evaluate individual schools experiencing outages or leaks early in the day and will announce any scheduling changes as they occur. Alexandria school officials warned that scattered road closures could cause some bus delays. Arlington County schools also plan to open on time Wednesday.
Prince William County schools will open on a normal schedule Wednesday, with the exception of Buckland Mills Elementary School, which will remain closed.
Staff writer Caitlin Gibson contributed to this report.