Hurricane Sandy aftercare confusion in Palm Beach County

Palm Beach County schools are canceled Friday, and students and teachers were dismissed early Thursday.  Some confusion came with communication over the cancelation or continuation of aftercare programs for students.
 
As a safety precaution for students, teachers and school staff, students were asked to depart school three hours early Thursday.  Many parents and teachers said the process went relatively well at area schools.
 
Kathleen Frascona Gonzales, a parent of a student at Lake Worth Middle School, said, "I think it went smoothly.  I was very happy.  I received phone calls from the principal, the district and it was all over the news.  And Facebook as well.  It was smooth. We had no problems."
 
Yet many parents brought up concerns on Facebook regarding the cancelation of aftercare programs.  There are 16,000 to 17,000 students in aftercare programs in Palm Beach County School District, according to program leaders. 

Superintendent of Palm Beach County Schools, Wayne Gent, announced Thursday morning that the programs would remain open, but that parents were encouraged to pick up students as early as possible.  
 
A statement from Gent Thursday afternoon read, "Today has gone smoothly for the most part.  There were some bumps with communication about After Care programs at a couple of schools.  Initially, early last evening, I canceled all after school activities for today.  I then clarified that After Care programs would run today.  I made the decision in an attempt to help support teachers and staff as well as working parents who may have some hardships picking up their children."  
 
Several students were thrilled that they were able to miss some school due to the weather of Sandy.  Teachers say they accomplished what they could in the time allowed.
 
Sharon Dragovich, a math teacher at Park Vista High School, had to pick up her children at two different schools after leaving the classroom herself.  
 
"We had shorter classes than usual but we just went on with our lesson plans already and we just shortened them and did as much of it as we could in the class period that we were given," she said.
 
Many community events and school projects have also been canceled Thursday and Friday.

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