“A private school continues to operate without running water, without its own electricity and with a makeshift fire hydrant that a state monitor said doesn’t meet safety codes, but was allowed to give the operator a temporary permit to teach several hundred students, authorities said.
Rockland officials got involved Wednesday and said that if the Summit Park Road school doesn’t have an approved water source by Monday — such as a tanker with water — they will close down the school in violation of the county sanitary code.
The Rockland Health Department allowed the school to use a tanker with water for drinking, washing and toliets, but ordered the school to disconnect a hose to a neighboring property with undrinkable well water, officials said.
Inspectors found the hose re-connected on Wednesday afternoon by contractors building the school, officials said. The water tanker is empty and the school closed for the holidays.
“This school was occupied and using an unapproved water source without our knowledge or permission,” County Executive Ed Day said Wednesday after meeting with officials who had the school inspected in the morning. “We are told that students will be returning Monday. Our inspectors will be there to make sure that they are using safe water, not well water and that the school is in compliance.”
The 17 classroom trailers on Summit Park Road for up to 400 girls since early September are lined up amid a construction site for a school — Ateres Bais Yaakov Academy of Rockland. New Hempstead officials have approved the designs for the school.
While New Hempstead Mayor Abe Sicker said he was initially satisfied with reports from inspectors that the school is safe and meets regulations, fire officials claim the school should not be operating until at least the utility issues are resolved and a workable fire hydrant is installed.
Fire officials also would like to see documents that the electrical work has been certified, noting the school is getting electricity through wires attached to nearby 196 Summit Park Road.
“Where else do you open a school without water and electricity?” Rockland Fire and Emergency Services Coordinator Gordon Wren Jr. said outside the school on Tuesday. “New Hempstead and the town should be ashamed. None of this should have taken place until everything was finished.
“You essentially have children being taught on a construction site and parents dropping and picking them up,” Wren said.
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