Sandy's Aftermath

Having grown up on the east coast where rain and snow were a way of life, I am thankful for the warm, dry weather we have here in Arizona. We may have an occasional “haboob” (dust storm) that causes us temporary power outages and delayed flights, but we don’t see the type of weather that hit our east coast this last month.

Hurricane Sandy, the so-called “perfect storm,” devastated many of our schools, colleges, and communities. It left in its path damage that will take years to recover from. In New York City, initial reports from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg cited damage to school buildings as the reason schools would remain closed for a week. A New York Times report stated that 57 schools were too damaged to reopen, which means the city will need to find new places for 34,000 students. The New York Department of Education website outlined which schools had to be temporarily relocated in other buildings because of damage to their buildings, or a lack of power. In many of schools that have reopened, students were told to wear sweaters until the heat came back on.

Local colleges suffered power outages, flooding, and transportation problems. Four CUNY colleges suffered significant damage to their facilities and their roofs. In addition, many schools and colleges were being used as shelter sites for those displaced by the storm.

New York was only one state that was hit by the storm. The stories coming out of New Jersey and other east coast cities were the same — damage beyond belief. The recovery process, described as a marathon, will take months — if not years — to complete. But we will recover.

Since it is Thanksgiving, the time of year when we should all count our blessings, I would like to take this opportunity to give thanks for my family and friends, my coworkers and colleagues, and all of those who have faced these challenging and unexpected circumstances with such determination, creativity, and grace. 

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