Message from Toms River Superintendent of Schools Frank Roselli:
Dear Members of our Regional School Community,
As most of you know by now, the Toms River Regional Schools, along with many other schools throughout the state, have been significantly impacted by the recent hurricane, so much so that the circumstances have necessitated the closing of our schools for this week. We will, however, return to school, Monday, November 12, 2012.
At this time, many of our schools are still experiencing a loss of power, as well as the loss of heat, telephone and computers. With each new day, we see improvements in this area, but we have no guarantees as to when our entire district will be up and running. Obviously, not only are the school buildings impacted, but so many of our students and staff continue to remain without power in their homes, and, in more severe cases, many have had to relocate from their homes. This situation certainly makes a return to school difficult on yet another level.
The physical conditions throughout our community have also made it unsafe for us to open our schools at this time. Roads continue to be obstructed by trees and disconnected power lines. Fallen trees and debris make it impossible for our children to walk to school safely, and also makes it very difficult for those who are transported by their parents or our busses.
Additionally, a number of our schools are being used to provide shelter to many people who have suffered substantial damage or the loss of their homes due to Hurricane Sandy. Initially, we had 3 of our schools hosting the hundreds of people who needed food and shelter. While many families have been relocated to their friends and family, at this time, we continue to have hundreds of people housed at High School East and High School North. The OEM (Office of Emergency Management) is working diligently to make more permanent accommodations for these people, but at this time, we have no definite information as to when we will be able to close our shelters. Also, in order to address the immediate needs of the victims of Hurricane Sandy, we have used all of the food available in our school system. The use of our supplies enabled us to avoid waste, but it has also depleted many of our resources. Clearly, we need to inventory the kitchens and cafeterias throughout our district and replenish them so we can feed our students upon their return to our schools.
While the devastation of Hurricane Sandy has been painful and difficult for so many, once again our school system employees have done all they could to take care of the needs of the members of our own community, as well as helping those from neighboring communities. The Toms River Regional Schools immediately stepped forward to help the people who were impacted by Monday’s hurricane. The doors of High School East and High School North were wide open on Sunday night, as district personnel worked with members of the OEM and CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), providing instant shelter, a warm meal, clean clothes, and the necessary bedding for those who fled their homes – many with children, many in drenched clothing, all in shock and sadness. When the numbers grew, Intermediate South welcomed additional evacuees. District personnel immediately volunteered to assist with these shelter efforts.
We are committed to continuing to help the people who have suffered so much from this disaster, and we are also working diligently to do all we can to have our schools open up and running as soon as possible. As a school system, we are so aware of the importance of the consistency and comfort in a child’s education. Rest assured, we will do all that we can to accommodate our students and families who may have had to move to a new location as a result of this storm’s devastation. Whenever possible, and with parent provided transportation, we will do our best to make sure that all our students remain in the program and school in which they began the school year. We encourage our special education parents to call their child’s Child Study Team if they have had a change of address. We will work with you to do what is best for your child. Our children always have been and always will be our first priority.
Thank you so much to all the district employees, students and staff members and families of the Toms River Regional Schools who have been so generous with their time and resources during this crisis.
Frank J. Roselli
Superintendent of Schools