NEWTOWN, Connecticut (Reuters) - The children who survived Friday’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School will not have to return to the scene of the massacre when school reopens later this week and instead will attend classes in a neighboring Connecticut town, Newtown school officials said on Sunday.
It remains unclear when the 436 surviving students at Sandy Hook will return to class, but when they do it will be in an unused school about 7 miles to the south in Monroe, Newtown School Superintendent Janet Robinson said.
“The Town of Monroe has graciously offered their Chalk Hill School,” Robinson said in a statement. “This facility, which is currently not being used, is in excellent condition and will accommodate all of the Sandy Hill School students and staff.
“It is located just across the border from Newtown and should be ready for occupancy in just a few days.”
All seven of Newtown’s public schools, which serve more than 5,100 students, as well as private schools in the district, will be closed on Monday, school officials said late on Saturday.
Officials were scrambling for ways to accommodate surviving students from what had been the town’s largest elementary school, serving 5- to 10-year-olds in kindergarten through fourth grade. The public school remains an active crime scene.
A Newtown police officer expressed doubt the school could ever be used again.
“At this time it’s too early to say. But I would find it very difficult for them to do that. Certainly that’s one of the things they’re going to have to look into,” Lieutenant George Sinko of the Newtown police said at a news conference on Sunday.
Twenty Sandy Hook first graders were killed on Friday when a 20-year-old man armed with an assault weapon and two hand guns shot his way into the school and opened fire.
Six adults, including the school principal, were also killed at the school. The gunman killed his mother and himself for a total death toll of 28 people.
In place of school on Monday, town officials said children would be able to attend a day of recreational activities hosted by local sports organizations at the Newtown Youth Academy, a private athletic facility in town.
All schools in the town other than Sandy Hook School will reopen on Tuesday.
Reporting by Dan Burns; additional writing by Phil Wahba; editing by Will Dunham and Todd Eastham