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UPDATE: Darien Public Schools Open Monday, Delayed Schedule

The Darien Public Schools will be open Monday on a delayed schedule, according to First Selectman Jayme Stevenson. Superintendent of Schools Stephen Falcone has released an announcement on the decision.

Update 6:37 p.m.:

The Darien Public Schools website now has Superintendent Stephen Falcone's announcement on resumption of classes Monday on the Home page.

Update 1:54 p.m.:

The Darien Public Schools website is back online, but there's no announcement on the Home page about the resumption of classes on Monday.

Update 1:46 p.m.:

The Darien Times has published a message from Darien Public Schools Superintendent Stephen Falcone. Here is the message as published by the Darien Times (Darien Patch has not received Falcone's statement):

Darien Public Schools

Office of the Superintendent of Schools

Sunday, November 4, 2012

90-Minute Delay for Students on Monday, November 5th

90-Minute Delay for Students on Tuesday, November 6th

I have been advised at the recent EOC meeting by our CL&P representative that all schools will have power at approximately 3 p.m. today.  There are two schools currently without power, Ox Ridge and Royle.  Ox Ridge is scheduled to regain power at 2 p.m. and Royle at 3 p.m. today. Also, roads have been deemed safe for bus and pedestrian travel.  Therefore, all schools will re-open on Monday, November 5th.  As was noted in the previous correspondence, we will operate with a 90-minute delay for students.  All faculty and staff are asked to report at their regularly scheduled time.

Additionally, in an effort to maintain continuity of instruction for our students, we will have a school day for all students and staff on Tuesday, Nov. 6 (Election Day).  Please note that this had been scheduled as a professional development day for faculty and staff only.  Like Monday, we would operate this school day with a 90-minute delay, though faculty and staff will report at their regularly scheduled times.

It is important to highlight the following items:

  • Faculty and staff will arrive earlier than students on Monday in order to prepare for student re-entry.  Brief informational meetings led by school administrators will occur for faculty and staff.
  • In the best of situations, we must always be alert, attentive, and patient when transporting students, whether it is by car, bus, or foot.  Your efforts in supporting a safe arrival and departure for our students are greatly appreciated.
  • As is typical practice with delayed openings, buses will run on the 90-minute delay schedule.
  • If you do have bus-related questions, please contact our Transportation Department at 203-656-7475.
  • We are sensitive to any situations regarding living conditions which might result in student absences, though we ask that you do report absences to the respective school offices.
  • We will be reviewing marking period and academic calendars for appropriate adjustments given this unprecedented weather event.
  • School and voting will occur on Tuesday, Nov. 6.  The delay on Tuesday will be designed to allow teachers to have professional development time and permit voters to attend the polling sites in the early morning with a minimum of traffic interference.  We will be providing additional information regarding this situation at a later time.

This has been an extremely challenging time and it is my sincere hope that you are safe and that you are beginning to recover from this serious event.  I am grateful to the people of Darien, including those who have worked with the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to coordinate the efforts that have served and will continue to serve our school and town community.  Your patience and cooperation have been greatly appreciated and we look forward to seeing your children on Monday.

Best regards,

 

Stephen V. Falcone

Superintendent of Schools

 

Original article:

Darien Public Schools will be open Monday on a delayed schedule, First Selectman Jayme Stevenson tweeted.

The Darien Public Schools website isn't even functioning at 1 p.m., possibly because so many parents are trying to get to it. School authorities said they'd post an announcement by 1 p.m. Sunday on whether or not school would be open Monday.

Here is Stevenson's post on Twitter:

"Darien Public Schools will be open Monday on a delayed open schedule. School will also be open Tuesday on a delayed open schedule."

As of 1:04 p.m., the public schools website Home page was unreachable. A web page with the words "Service unavailable" was all that could be seen (see the attached screen shot for what that looked like).

Elizabeth Salvi November 04, 2012 at 06:14 PM
I am shocked! My kids are going to have to walk over downed power lines to get to their bus stop. Bad call in my opinion.
David Gurliacci (Editor) November 04, 2012 at 06:35 PM
We don't know what the thinking was in drawing the conclusion to start school on Monday (although we were told *how* they expected to decide this) because the school district website is down. So far, Stevenson's tweet is the sole communication on this. And it's less than 140 characters, of course.
David Gurliacci (Editor) November 04, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Please imagine the total amount of wasted time that people have just spent across Darien because Darien Public Schools didn't deploy multiple means of communication. Here's what they could have done: Sent out an email blast to those who have subscribed to it (perhaps they did and that's down along with the website), asked Stevenson to devote one of her "Red Code" reverse-911 recorded telephone messages to it, had their own Twitter account to tweet about it, posted the information on a blog, posted it as a blog on Darien Patch and the Darien News, sent it to all of Darien's news organizations or even posted it as a comment or comments on the websites of the news organizations. We live in an age of instant communications, where even longer messages can be instantly communicated to thousands. But the Darien Public Schools don't.
Kathleen DeMott November 04, 2012 at 06:42 PM
I'm confused....isn't Tuesday election day? Does this mean that there will be school on election day?
David Gurliacci (Editor) November 04, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Or they could have created a Facebook page and posted information there. There is no Darien Public Schools page on Facebook. Actually, there is one—but it's the "Delevan-Darien Public Schools" Facebook page. It was set up by a school district in Wisconsin. They have more than 2,000 Facebook followers, and if their website had gone down at the moment when people were looking for an announcement, the Facebook page would have been available. http://www.facebook.com/ddschools?fref=ts#!/ddschools (this link should work better than the one I originally posted)
Maxine St James November 04, 2012 at 06:53 PM
I am shocked! My house still does not have power and it is already almost 2pm. In my opinion, I think the district should wait until all houses have power and all the power lines and trees are cleared away.
David Gurliacci (Editor) November 04, 2012 at 07:01 PM
As of 1:55 p.m., 22 percent of Darien CL&P customers were without power, or 2,236 customers. Not all Darien customers are expected to have electricity on Monday, very possibly not all on Tuesday. http://outage.cl-p.com/outage/outagemap.aspx
David Gurliacci (Editor) November 04, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Late last week, Superintendent Stephen Falcone explained how he would make this decision: "At this point, if certain conditions are met, our intention is to open schools Monday with a 90-minute delay. We will only open schools on Monday if: * All school buildings have full power and are free from any storm-related safety concerns. We will not open any schools until all are fully functional. * All school bus stops, and normal walking routes to school, are deemed to be free from any storm-related safety concerns. * All roads on which buses must operate are accessible and safe. http://darien.patch.com/articles/darien-schools-open-monday-with-90-minute-delay-maybe
Samantha Reinheimer November 04, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Bad choice! And now the district is keeping schools open on Tuesday, wow!
Ali November 04, 2012 at 08:20 PM
If I thought my children were in danger of walking over power lines then I would drive them to school. If you feel it's too dangerous to leave your home then by all means keep your children at home. I for one am thankful that the majority of Darien children can get back to school. Hopefully all parents will assess their individual situations. Per Steve Falcone: We are sensitive to any situations regarding living conditions which might result in student absences, though we ask that you do report absences to the respective school offices.
Big Boi November 04, 2012 at 10:32 PM
They updated the www.darienps.org website instantly when decisions were made all week. Maybe you could have just checked that instead of sending out redundant information . . .
David Gurliacci (Editor) November 04, 2012 at 11:40 PM
At 1:11 p.m., Superintendent Stephen Falcone sent out an email with the subject line "School Notification" (and containing his Monday-opening statement) to Darien Board of Education members and others, apparently on various mailing lists. News organizations were not on that list. Five hours later, at 6:15, he forwarded the email to Darien Patch after I requested it.
David Gurliacci (Editor) November 04, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Big Boi, they did no such thing. I checked. I saw one update. And the website was down shortly after the storm hit.
David Gurliacci (Editor) November 04, 2012 at 11:48 PM
On Friday, when I asked Stephen Falcone and Board of Education Chair Elizabeth Hagerty-Ross, together, what would be the best way to get the announcement on whether schools would be open on Monday, they, together, answered that I should watch the Darien Public Schools website by 1 p.m. Sunday.
Big Boi November 05, 2012 at 04:00 AM
David, You are 100% incorrect that the BOE did not update their website each time a determination to close schools was made (1st Monday & Tuesday, then Wednesday, then Thursday and Friday). Seemed their were some issues with it for Monday and Tuesday of this week. The school newsletters folks also send emails out alerting parents that the schools are closed. Just because someone from the BOE didn't personally contact you is no reason to be upset. Get over it man.
Big Boi November 05, 2012 at 04:02 AM
They email parents and put it on their website. They are not beholden to The Darien Patch. Parents should be checking the BOE website, not The Darien Patch for school closings imo.
David Gurliacci (Editor) November 05, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Big Boi, Darien Patch is not just for parents, and not everyone who's passing a school on their way to work should have to subscribe to an email service or monitor a sometimes-up, sometimes-down public schools website. Multiple means of alerting town residents that go beyond 1990s technology are not a challenge -- it's simply a choice.
David Gurliacci (Editor) November 05, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Big Boi, I'm not saying it's a major issue, but it's an issue because it inconvenienced very many Darien residents. That's the bottom line.
Rich November 05, 2012 at 03:10 PM
At this point your the exception and not the rule. That's why the code red said use your discretion. Should we keep all the students home because some cannot get to teh bus stop? Is there an alternate route? Can you drive them, get a friend to take them?
Chris November 05, 2012 at 04:17 PM
They said the decision would be made at 1PM. At 1 PM the BOE website was down and there was no email, so everyone went to the Patch and they didn't have the information, so the Patch looks bad. The First Selectman's tweets shouldn't be the official source for BOE information. The BOE then sent a press release to the Darien Times, but not the Patch. I got the parents email around 2:30. It's not really that important, but David has every right to wonder why they decided to cut the Patch out of the information flow.

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