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Cresskill, NJ Middle And High School Students Will Start Year Remotely After Shared Building Suffers Severe Flood Damage

CRESSKILL, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- There were more than just homes and businesses impacted by the remnants of Ida in New Jersey. The storm devastated schools, too.

As CBS2's Nick Caloway reported Friday, the flooding means some students will start the school year remotely.

More than 3 feet of water had to pumped out of the building that houses Cresskill's middle and high schools. Even more water accumulated in the auditorium.

The extent of the damage is still not entirely known.

"It is heartbreaking. We have never seen anything like this," said Superintendent Michael Burke.

Burke said cleanup and repairs will take months.

The first day of school is Thursday. As a result, about a thousand 6th-12th graders will have to start the year remotely while officials look for off-campus locations to serve as classrooms.

"Virtual was a stopgap. So we were really excited to open our doors for full day instruction, and now this is a huge setback," Burke said.

Principal John Massaro shares in the frustration.

"Because it does feel like we're taking steps backward," Massaro said.

Students and parents are especially upset.

"So we didn't really get to have a freshman year either, and half of 8th grade was cut off. So we haven't really been in high school yet," said Erin Fahy, a sophomore. "It's just disappointing to know that we're going to have to wait even longer to go back."

"It's shock. This was supposed to be getting back on track, and now we're back to square zero, really," said Sarah Barrs, a parent.

Schools in Montclair were also hit hard by the storm.

The basement of Montclair High School was flooded. Officials said they're hoping to open for in-person instruction next week.

Students hope that's the case.

"I can't wait to go back. Remote learning, it was fun in the beginning, but I'm ready to start seeing people again," said Max Haley-Coley, a senior.

The timeline for getting kids back into the classroom in Cresskill is unclear.

Officials said they're focused on getting the building open and operational sometime before the school year ends.

CBS2's Nick Caloway contributed to this report.

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