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Buffalo schools hope to reopen Tuesday; others remain closed all week

Despite Sunday’s thawing conditions, most snow-affected school districts will remain closed today, though several are re-opening.

Four of the hardest hit districts have called off classes for all of Thanksgiving week. Many school officials are already looking ahead to figure out when the district can make up the time later.

Here is a roundup:

Alden

Alden Central Schools will open today, but with a two-hour delay, announced Superintendent Adam Stoltman.

“The idea behind the two-hour delay is simply giving us some additional safety precautions with the daylight,” Stoltman said, adding that he wants to make sure students are easily seen as they wait for the buses and walk to school.

So far, no structural problems have been found in any of the district’s buildings, though roofs were to be reevaluated early this morning, he said.

He added his thanks for assistance from the town and village of Alden, as well as the Akron school district, which lent Alden Central Schools equipment to help the district clear out snow.

Buffalo

Buffalo Public Schools will be closed today for students, though all staff are expected to report. Interim Superintendent Donald Ogilvie said he’s hopeful that all schools will be open Tuesday.

The closure of Buffalo City Schools has been problematic for the district since the vast majority of district schools experienced no snow-related issues. Ogilvie, however, said there were many complicating factors that resulted in the decision to shut down the entire district and keep it closed through today.

Six schools in South Buffalo were affected by the storm, but none of those schools had more than 50 percent of its students living in the South Buffalo community, Ogilvie said.

The district had no way of getting the other South Buffalo students out of the community into other district schools, and no way of getting students from outside South Buffalo into the schools located there.

Moreover, many of the district’s buses are garaged near the Lackawanna city line and still need to be checked to make sure they are all ready to go, he said.

Staffing issues remained a concern, but more importantly, government officials could not assure the safety of students waiting at bus stops on today. Even though many of the main roads are wide open, a high number of secondary roads are only passable via a single car lane, which is insufficient for school bus needs.

“I’ve talked with the Mayor’s Office, and they’re very concerned about making sure the roads are wide enough so that there will be safe bus stops for our kids,” he said.

Barring complications created by the flooding of Cazenovia Creek in South Buffalo, Ogilvie said, he’s optimistic that the district will be open Tuesday and Wednesday before the Thanksgiving break.

After that, the district will likely convert May 22, the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, into a regular school day, Ogilvie said.

Beyond those two days, he said, the district will probably be forced to consider converting days from the weeklong breaks scheduled for February and April if future snow closings occur.

Depew

Depew schools will be closed again today.

Eden

Eden schools will reopen today and remain open through Wednesday, according to Superintendent Sandra Anzalone. Both Wednesday and Dec. 10 were originally scheduled as days off for students but now have been converted into regular school days.

Frontier

Schools are closed until Dec. 1 while structural engineers inspect all school buildings and ensure their safety prior to the return of faculty, staff and students.

Hamburg

Hamburg Superintendent Vince Coppola said many factors went into the decision to close schools until Dec. 1, the primary one being the continuing impassability of many sidewalks in the Village of Hamburg, where the district has many students who walk.

“We obviously could not risk having kids walking into the streets,” he said.

In addition, village and town officials have asked that the district keep schools closed so that heavy equipment can continue to remove tons of snow.

As in other snow-plagued districts, many school staffers continue to remain snowbound and there’s no guarantee enough would make it into school on today to operate a full school day.

Only two school days will be affected this week, since the district already had scheduled Wednesday through Friday off for Thanksgiving.

The district has already determined that Dec. 22 and 23 will become make-up days for students, Coppola said. The district will also look at the school calendar and discuss further make-up days when school resumes.

Meanwhile, the district has hired 15 experienced roofers who are clearing and inspecting rooftops for structural damage. No interior damage has been found, he said.

Iroquois

Superintendent Douglas Scofield reported that Iroquois Central Schools will reopen today.

Lackawanna

Schools will be closed today as engineers continue to check the structural safety of the buildings.

Lake Shore

Lake Shore Central Schools will remain closed today for continued clean-up and recovery efforts.

Orchard Park

Like other districts, Orchard Park officials cited student and staff safety in canceling school and all related activities this week. Schools are scheduled to reopen Dec. 1.

“Although roads may seem passable and the snow is melting quickly, as a district we need to make sure that all things have been considered prior to returning to our normal schedule,” Orchard Park Superintendent Matthew McGarrity said in an online letter to parents.

The district has a structural engineer examining the safety of school buildings, though no structural concerns have been identified so far, McGarrity said.

He added that the district has concerns about student and staff attendance this week and the impact of flooding.

“High snow banks and fallen trees continue to pose danger at bus stops and intersections,” he stated.

District officials will meet to discuss the adjustments to the school calendar when school resumes.

West Seneca

West Seneca officials announced that all schools will remain closed until Dec. 1.

email: stan@buffnews.com