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School officials: Ridge Street School closed indefinitely, students to learn remotely

The state Education Department shut down Ridge Street School due to fire safety hazards for students, including a new system that hasn’t been inspected yet.

News 12 Staff

Sep 19, 2021, 1:34 PM

Updated 1,004 days ago

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An elementary school in the Blind Brook School District is closed indefinitely after the state says it found serious safety violations there earlier this week.
It's happening at the Bruno M. Ponterio Ridge Street School. A message from the district superintendent says the last few days have been challenging for the school, and the only way for kids in kindergarten through 4th grade to learn safely is through remote learning.
The email says in part: “Due to the current situation, NYSED has approved remote learning for our elementary students. It is unfortunate that remote learning is the only viable pathway to implement instruction for our students in grades K-4 at this time.”
On Monday, there is no school for all Ridge Street School students.
Families can request devices for their children through the Technology Department and pick them up for remote learning on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, fifth graders may be able to have in-person instruction at Blind Brook Middle School and High School.
The state education commissioner says school district members could have broken the law by having kids in the school Monday through Wednesday without the building having a certificate of occupancy and a valid fire inspection.
The district vehemently denies those allegations, saying the safety of students is most important. Officials say the plan for remote learning is not meant to be permanent. They say they are committed to resolving conditions in the building that were identified during an 11-hour inspection Friday.
The superintendent tells News 12 in a statement, "The past week has been incredibly challenging for families and the school district as we navigate the construction related issues at BMPRSS. I recognize how unsettling this situation is and assure you that we are working to get our school fully reopened and students back in their classrooms as quickly as possible. Our highest priority is to meet the safety requirements and reopen BMRPSS for in-person learning.
On Saturday, along with the President Jaffee of the Board, I met with key decision makers at the NYS Education Department (NYSED). The goal of the meeting was to develop a plan for addressing the construction issues and establishing a clear path and timeline forward to return all elementary students safely to BMPRSS.
We are working with the architect, construction management firm, and all contractors to make the necessary corrections. Satisfactory completion of required work to address safety concerns together with a plan and certification by the architectural firm responsible for code compliance guidance will allow the district to request that students are returned as soon as possible. The next 48 hours are critical, and I expect to have a more detailed update for you by Wednesday. We all want to have our students learning safely in the building and we will keep families updated on progress toward that goal."


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