On Monday, September 26, 2011, after a 12-day delay, the Windham-Ashland-Jewett Central School opened its doors to students.
After receiving approval from the New York State Education Department, ONC BOCES Safety Risk officials and environmental hygienists, the school is ready at last, and children are finally starting up their school year.
While all of the building is environmentally safe, some classrooms and common areas still need work to be completed before being used. Team sports are using other facilities since the playground and field areas will not be ready in the near future (recess in the rooms, what a drag).
Replacement of lost school buses has begun with the arrival of four new buses.
The school calendar modification is not complete, and will require further conversations with New York State Education Department.
Though there is an expectation that insurance and state and federal assistance will cover a majority of costs, the financing of recovery will be more formally addressed by the Board of Education in the upcoming weeks.
And, yes, the PTA's annual Back to School BBQ will be happening, date to be determined.
The Catskill Daily Mail reports that although some work still needs to be done on the building, school began on a high note:
“The library is not open,” [Superintendent John Wiktorko] said, explaining librarian Carol Spear is operating in temporary quarters in the cafetorium. “The Elementary art room took a hit, too,” he said. The teacher is currently visiting individual classes with what he called “Art on a cart.”
Overall, he said, “the feeling is so positive. The teachers were all very happy to be back. The joy is really centered on our mission — to provide students with a better life and a bright future.”
Answers to many parents' questions can be found at the school website Highlights Section.
In case anyone forgets the joy of opening school day, check out the photos in Windham Returns to Class by Scott Waldman of The Times Union.