By James Stoeger SJ
Superstorm Sandy impacted Jesuit high schools on the East Coast in varying degrees. Some schools escaped with only the loss of a few days of class, but others severe impacts. Schools have great concern for the safety of students, both in the schools themselves and for transportation. Support services, such as operating the cafeteria, are an issue.
St. Peter’s Prep, just across the Hudson from lower Manhattan, experienced extensive flooding of the lower levels of buildings and the campus. Initial cleaning is underway, and workers are assessing damage to mechanical and electrical systems. Electric power was back on the school on Oct. 31, but still spotty in the neighborhood. Prep is in an area surrounded by devastation, and had no classes this week.
Xavier High School, located on 16th Street in Manhattan, has many students and their families from Breezy Point and Rockaway who lost possessions, including what students need for school. At least ten families lost everything is gone. Xavier is in the area with very substantial loss of electricity.
Neither Loyola School nor neighboring Regis on the upper East Side lost power or incurred damage. They are concerned for student and personnel transportation, since this is largely unavailable at this point. The schools will reopen on Monday. They are also alert to the fact that many of their families do not have electricity or internet access. Both schools are eager to assist students. Fordham Prep in the Bronx opened Nov. 1 with shortened classes.
Fairfield Prep is in an area of very extensive water and wind damage along the nearby shore area, but not on the campus itself. Limited electricity is currently available by backup generator for the larger Fairfield University campus, which is closed at this point. Transportation is not yet in place to reopen the school this past week.
Schools in Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Boston all fared much better, suffering mostly a couple days of suspended classes and rescheduled activities.