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School to Start Sept. 6

This article has been updated.

Update 9:50 p.m.

Citing electrical systems faring worse than originally assessed, the town , but rather next Tuesday.

Original Story

(Editor's Note: The following is a message from New Canaan Superintendent of Schools David Abbey.)

After a careful analysis of current conditions, I have made the decision to open schools, tomorrow, Thursday, September 1. Schools will open on a 90 minute delayed schedule. In coming to this decision, BOE Chairman Nick Williams and I have had ongoing and thorough discussions with members of the Town’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), Police and Fire Departments, the onsite representatives from CL&P, Public Works, the Highway Department and members of CERT, the New Canaan Emergency Response Team. Of course, I have also been planning and coordinating efforts with our district and school administrative team. Understanding that no undertaking is risk- free, particularly one that involves as many moving parts as a public school district, even under the best of circumstances, we believe that, with the additional resources that we are using as well as the planning that we have done, school should open safely. In the final analysis, I think that our students will be safer in school than out and about in the community.

It is hoped that the following basic information will be helpful.

1.       On Thursday, the first day, school will open on a 90 - minute delayed schedule with bus service provided.

2.       Students, K-12, will not receive homework for Thursday, Friday or throughout the weekend.

3.       Food service will be modified slightly in that we will not have the standard range of options. However, every cafeteria will have a hot lunch and sandwich options. No student will be denied breakfast or lunch because they do not have sufficient funds.

4.       The high school will serve breakfast.

5.       Kindergarten orientation will take place on Thursday with the following adjusted times – South 10:15-11:15 for session 1, Session 2 is 11:30 to 12:30, East and West – Session 1 is 11:00-12:00. Session 2 is 12:15-1:15.

6.       Police officers will be positioned to direct traffic at any location where there is a traffic light that is not working.

7.       CERT representatives will be strategically positioned to ensure safety at potential problem spots.

As I write this letter, West School is still without power; however, we anticipate that it will be turned on and the school will be ready for students and teachers on Thursday.

Several weeks ago, as I eagerly looked forward to another great school year, this was not the welcome back letter that I had envisioned writing. Unfortunately, it has been a frustrating and difficult time for all of us. At this point, however, with extra doses of flexibility and understanding, at school and from home, we are ready to start the school year, and look forward to providing another terrific experience for our students.

Tom September 01, 2011 at 12:51 AM
you will be happy to know that he cancelled school until Tuesday September 6
rde September 01, 2011 at 01:25 AM
the board of ed is incompetent in being able to make executive decisions and has simply exacerbated the situation. they should be ashamed of themselves for having strung along those families which have suffered through this ordeal...seriously, consider resigning because it frightens me to think of how they will handle similar situations in the future.
Sammy September 01, 2011 at 12:14 PM
Again school officials and the Board of Education are not thinking of families with two working parents. On Wednesday at 1 pm, we were all breathing a sigh of relief when officials announced schools would re-open. However, to reverse that decision at 9pm was very poor planning. It gave families (especially those with two working parents) no time to find child care. I totally understand the safety concerns and thus the need to keep the schools closed. However, if you are going to make an unpopular decision make it early in the day/week so families have time to react.
patrick swearingen September 01, 2011 at 12:48 PM
Frustrating for everyone, but few may be aware that the Chairman of the Board of Ed (and maybe others on the Board) has been camped out at the Emergency Operations Center trying to get the town going for the past five days, working day and night. He and other volunteers at his side should get credit for stepping up and putting the community first despite heir own issues with their own homes and families.. Not everyone may be happy with the decision, but safety always has to come first.
rde September 01, 2011 at 01:16 PM
Kudos to the BOE for camping out, but if safety is priority #1 then they need to rethink their strategy and not push so hard to get the kids back in school so quickly.
John Sheffield September 01, 2011 at 01:53 PM
RDE and Sammy, I trust that you will be promptly reporting to EOC for your 15 hour shift of volunteering and helping make decisions. What? You can't because you have a job. That's great, so do those who are down there doing their best. They have taken time off of their NYC law firm job and other positions to help out. Please don't criticize unless and until YOU have done something, anything to help out. With those kinds of comments, I'd be willing to be neither of you do anything in town in any capacity to help others. Enjoy your day, and try simply to be thankful for those who do act and decide---whether you like their decision/action or not.
rde September 01, 2011 at 02:50 PM
I've volunteered in this town for many years, and am not critizing them for making an effort but rather for trying to rush something which should not have been rushed. Although some people in this town are fortunate enough to have hired help for their kids, not everyone is and that should be taken into consideration when making last minute calls. And the superintendent, who wrote the letter about finalky making the right decision has another full time job, really???
John Sheffield September 01, 2011 at 03:02 PM
RDE, I therefore stand corrected and I thank you for your efforts over the years. You mentioned in your earlier post the BOE and I referred to the Chairman having another job. You mentioned the BOE should resign. It is an elected position for which you could run next time. Thanks and may all be safe.
Sammy September 01, 2011 at 03:08 PM
John My response was regarding families with two working parents and the decision to reverse the school opening at 9pm (versus earlier in the day). The town's many volunteers have done a great job. However, the 9 pm school "reversal" was poorly timed (especially after the previous 1 pm announcement).
rde September 01, 2011 at 03:08 PM
And just to be clear, the employees and volunteers in this town, including those that have come in from elsewhere to help out, are doing a great job. But to that end, we need to let them continue doing so without adding additional layers of stress or potential safety issues by having school buses navigate around downed wires and the kids walk near those wires.
James C. September 01, 2011 at 03:35 PM
Dr. Abbey has shown time and time again that he is an idiot. This decision makes absolutely no sense. There are no safety issues with sending kids to school today. The only reason why Dr. Abbey changed his mind was because a few people decided to complain. Dr. Abbey, you should resign immediately. You are incompetent and are ruining this district.
pinny September 02, 2011 at 01:28 AM
James C., actually you are an idiot. Not to mention a sociopath, a jerk, and a downright loser. And James C., I know who you are . . . .

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