Brooklyn Technical High School has been transformed into a shelter for some 500 evacuees, mostly from adult care facilities in the Rockaways and Coney Island. Brooklyn Tech is one of 76 evacuation centers(including many public schools) for victims of super storm Sandy. Classrooms have been turned into dormitories with cots. Department of Education employees are providing meals, but volunteers are welcome to help out.
When we visited this afternoon, some of the evacuees were outdoors smoking, others were seated at old-fashioned desks lining the hallways. Stacks of donated magazines and books were piled up in the lobby and a steady stream of volunteers came in to offer help. Several dozen volunteers, some Brooklyn Tech parents and teachers, all wearing orange vests, were already on the job, accepting donations of towels, which were in short supply, and offers of help. Volunteers are especially needed at mealtime -- from 6-7 p.m. for dinner, and before 9 a.m. for breakfast.
For the Brooklyn Tech custodial and food services staff, it was a normal work day, as they mopped down the hallways and cleaned classrooms. The Education Department's food service workers are busy giving out meals but help is needed to help shepherd people to the 7th floor cafeteria, volunteers said.
There was no word as to how long the city's largest high school will be home to evacuees from flooded areas of Brooklyn and Queens and whether teachers and staff will still be sharing the building with them when they arrive back to work on Friday.
And, no word yet whether Saturday's specialized high school exam, to be given at Brooklyn Tech, is on or off. We'll post something as soon as we know. As of Wednesday, the DOE hadn't made a decision.