NJ school may not reopen until 2022 due to ‘extensive’ flood damage

New Jersey

CRESSKILL, N.J. — One New Jersey school badly damaged by Ida flooding could remain closed for the remainder of the calendar year, according to an official.

Cresskill Public Schools Superintendent Michael Burke told the PIX11 Morning News that the damage to the Cresskill Middle/High School in Bergen County was “extensive.”

The school, which houses about 1,000 students, was supposed to reopen Wednesday, Sept. 8 for the new school year.

“We were overwhelmed with water. Probably three to four feet of water throughout the entire building,” Burke said.

The superintendent said water had gotten into the auditorium, the media center and more.

“The old gym is under the media center — the floor buckled. That has to be replaced” Burke said. “We’re concerned about mold and our four boilers for the entire building, which is estimated over $2 or 3 million worth of damage, all have to be replaced,” he added.

Burke had previously told NJ Advance Media for NJ.com there was little chance that the school will be “even close to being ready until 2022, at the earliest.”

He said the district should have a timeline later this week as to when staff and students can return to the building.

According to Burke, the district has gotten permission from state education officials to conduct virtual classes when the school year starts Wednesday.

The official said they were actively looking for off-campus sites to serve as classrooms for the entire student body, which is seven grades, divided between middle school and high school.

“If we can just clear a part of the building, a wing to bring back, let’s say sixth grade, 12th graders, depending, we will start to acclimate them back in,” Burke said. “But I anticipate that is not going to happen for several months.”

The superintendent said that the challenge in splitting up the students at different locations, is that many teachers at the school teach across multiple grades.

“Ideally what we’re looking for is two locations. One for our middle school, which is about 450 students, and one for our high school, which is about 550,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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