Darien Schools Superintendent Dan Brenner issued a public apology Monday to Darien parents of school children. He said he should have delayed the start of school. ____________
Update: Nasty Backlash on Twitter
Updated at 4:12 p.m.:
Brenner’s 5:17 a.m. tweet about not delaying the school day was met with harsh complaints from parents, including some insults, and complaints often combined with swearing, insults, scorn and vilification from others, most of whom identified themselves as students. Here’s Brenner’s tweet:
Here’s a sampling of the replies to that tweet (we’ve left out the swearing):
Darien Public Schools will open this morning, then run on an early dismissal schedule, Superintendent Dan Brenner announced early Wednesday. UPDATE, 5:30 a.m. — “The Early Learning Program 8:30 a.m. start will dismiss at 10:00 a.m./ Early Learning Program 9:30 a.m. start will be closed,” the school district said in an announcement emailed at 5:22 a.m.
UPDATE, 5:45 a.m. — The school district’s first emailed announcement of early dismissal listed Middlesex Middle School as being dismissed at 11 a.m. The district sent another email correcting that: Early dismissal for Middlesex is at 10:30 a.m., as the district’s early dismissal policy states. This is the early dismissal schedule, according to the school district website:
(1) In the event of a Morning Emergency Dismissal due to inclement weather, all students, including kindergartners, will be dismissed according to the following schedule:
High School 10:30 a.m.
Hindley, Royle, Tokeneke 11:00 a.m.
Middlesex 10:30 a.m.
Holmes, Ox Ridge 11:30 a.m.
All students will have the same bus stops as they had in the morning. No lunches will be served at school on those days, but elementary students will have a snack prior to dismissal. FOR Early Learning Program (ELP) ONLY: ELP students at Ox Ridge, Royle, and Tokeneke will be dismissed at 10 a.m.
Update: 5:27 a.m. — Here’s the Darien Public Schools announcement via email at 5:22 a.m.:
Today is Wednesday, March 21st and the Darien Public Schools will be dismissing students early due to the weather forecast. All activities scheduled for this afternoon are cancelled or will be rescheduled for a later date. Please check the district website www.darienps.org for further updates.
Here’s what’s closing for Wednesday’s snowstorm, what services are changing as a result of the storm and, perhaps — if we find it unusual enough — what’s staying 0pen, with the latest news listed first:
UPDATES (latest is first):
—2:46 p.m. — Darien Imaging Center is closed for the day, Stamford Hospital announced on Twitter. So are the ones at Long Ridge, Greenwich, Summer Street, Wilton and Chelsea Piers. —2:19 p.m. — Darien Arts Center, from an emailed announcement: “All dance classes after 3 p.m. have been cancelled. All visual arts classes have been cancelled. For music lessons please contact Juanita Bosee at email@example.com”
—2:17 p.m. — Darien Town Hall and the Recycling Center closed early, at 1:30 p.m.
—11:45 a.m. — The Darien Community Association is closed. —11:44 a.m. — YWCA Darien/Norwalk closed at 11 a.m.
—11:43 a.m. — Blue Wave Taco is closed. —11:42 a.m. — Stamford Museum & Nature Center is open today, although Stamford police closing part of Newfield Avenue earlier today might give you pause.
Darien schools will close for the summer on June 21, unless we have another snow day, Superintendent Dan Brenner recently told the Board of Education, and he gave the board a detailed description of how he decides whether or not to keep schools closed for a snow day. When’s the Last Day of School? The topic he’s “probably had the most questions about is: When does school end?” Brenner said. “So let me review that for all of you: We have had five emergency closing days, and I would suggest that they all weren’t great calls, and I’ll speak to that in a moment.
There are a number of reasons why it may take a while for your home to get power back after a storm, including whether your home can be restored with a lot of other homes all at once, how fast the wind is blowing after a storm, and even whether or not you have a special need, according to First Selectman Jayme Stevenson. At Monday’s Board of Selectman meeting, Stevenson took several minutes to explain how first responders, Department of Public Works crews and utility crews approach the cleanup after a storm and the restoration of power to local customers. Here’s how Stevenson described it, in her own words (without quotes):
I just want to remind everybody, as we are on the eve of, yes, another March snowstorm — hopefully it won’t be as bad as the last one — [that] a little movement in the storm here or there can make a big difference. Generally, people in town have been incredibly patient with regard to getting their power restored, and I just wanted to remind people of the [power restoration] process — and this storm was an excellent example of the damage that heavy snow and high winds can do throughout town, bringing down branches, trees, snapping utility poles, damaging transformers. ‘Make Safe’ Period
The very first part of the response effort on the part of our emergency operations team, in collaboration with Eversource, is to go out and take care of the emergency situations.
Here’s what’s closed, what may surprisingly be open and any other adjustments in and around Darien during this third snowstorm of March:
8:56 a.m. — Stamford Museum and Nature Center is closed. 8:46 a.m. — The Maritime Aquarium and its IMAX theater are closed. 8:44 a.m. — Stepping Stones Museum for Children is closed. 8:42 a.m. — The Bruce Museum in Greenwich is open today for regular hours, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
8:03 a.m. — The Department of Motor Vehicles tweets: “With DMV offices closed today, licenses, registrations and other credentials expiring today are extended to the close of business tomorrow, March 14. Also, road skills tests and appointments for knowledge tests for today are being rescheduled.”
All Darien public schools will be opening on Friday two hours late, and power has been restored to Middlesex Middle School, which also will be open late, the school district announced at 5:12 a.m., Friday. Holly Pond School classes will start at 10 a.m., the Darien YMCA announced. Here’s the announcement:
Today is Friday, March 9, 2018 and all of the Darien Public Schools will be DELAYED BY TWO HOURS. All schools will be open TWO HOURS later than normal. Buses will be running approximately two hours later than normal.
Update 6:21 a.m. — A total of 378 Darien electricity customers remained without power as of of 6:10 a.m., according to Eversource. Original article:
While many places around Darien reopened, other than schools, on Thursday, 667 Eversource customers remained without power in town as of 9:30 p.m. Thursday. Meanwhile, in New Canaan, 16 percent of customers were without power; 32 percent in Wilton; 21 percent in Westport; 40 percent in Redding and 53 percent in Weston. Aside from Westport, coastal communities in Fairfield County generally had lower percentages of customers in the dark: 7 percent in Norwalk, 4 percent in Stamford and 3 percent in Greenwich. Around the state as a whole, 6 percent of Eversource customers were without power — 77,587 as of 9:30 p.m. The company doesn’t have a “statewide estimated time of restoration” yet, but expects to announce that sometime Friday.
Darien Public Schools officials are considering whether or not to delay the start of school on Friday by two hours as work on clearing roads and downed power lines continues. Middlesex Middle School remained without power as of 8:27 p.m., when the email was sent, and if power wasn’t restored by morning, that school might remain closed on Friday, the announcement said. (As of 9:02 p.m., there were 653 Darien electricity customers still without power, 8 percent of all customers in town, according to Eversource.)
Here’s the full text of the emailed announcement:
We would like to provide you with a brief update of our current plan for tomorrow’s school openings. This is NOT the FINAL OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT. We will email you by 5:30 a.m. tomorrow with an official announcement regarding the school day.
Update 10:27 p.m., Wednesday: Darien Police Department announced on Instagram: “The Town of Darien has sustained significant damage as a result of the ongoing storm. There are numerous reports of downed trees and power lines. We are asking that ALL unnecessary travel be avoided until emergency crews can clear roadways. Power outages should be reported to Eversource and NOT the police department. 9-1-1 should be used only for true emergencies.
Update 7:33 p.m., Sunday: Only 14 Darien customers were without electric power as of 7:17 p.m., according to Eversource. Update 8:11 a.m., Sunday: A total of 416 Darien electricity customers still don’t have their power back, about 5 percent of the total number of Eversource customers in town, according to the utility. Update, 10:54 p.m. — Eversource now says 561 Darien customers are without power, or 7 percent of the town’s customers. Original story:
Friday’s winds and rain not only blew down trees across roads and knocked out power for many Darien residents — 788 electricity customers were still without power as of 2:17 p.m. on Saturday, according to Eversource. That’s about the same number without power that Darien police were reporting as of 9:30 a.m. (790 customers).
Darien Public Schools are closing early Friday because of the day’s weather, the school district has announced. Some other closings in town and just beyond have also been announced (see updates, below). According to an announcement emailed to parents at about 11:30 a.m.:
Darien Public Schools will be dismissing early today due to the high winds, excessive rain and the possibility of flooding and snow. All after-school activities scheduled for today are cancelled and or will be rescheduled for a later date. Here are the dismissal times for individual schools:
Darien High School will dismiss at 1:20 p.m.
Middlesex Middle School will dismiss at 1:30 p.m.
Hindley, Royle, and Tokeneke will dismiss at 2:00 p.m.
Holmes and Ox Ridge will dismiss at 2:25 p.m.
11:50 a.m. — New Canaan Country School is also closing early, according to WVIT-TV
11:53 a.m. — Schools Superintendent Dan Brenner tweeted at 11:41 a.m.: “Darien PS dismissing one hour early due to high winds, excessive rain, possible flooding and potential for accumulating snow. All after school activities are canceled.”
Darien Public Schools will remain closed on Friday and Town Hall won’t reopen until 10 a.m. Darien YMCA will open as usual at 5 a.m.
Those are some of the opening or closing decisions made in the wake of Thursday’s storm. “The Darien Public Schools will be closed Friday, Jan. 5, 2018,” the school district website announced on Thursday. “All activities scheduled are cancelled or will be rescheduled.” The YMCA announced on Thursday: “The Darien Y will be open at 5am as usual. Youth programs will be on as scheduled except for Holly Pond School and Kids Club which are cancelled due to Darien Public Schools being closed.”
United Way of Connecticut has these tips for handling winter snow storms. You know many of them, but you may pick up some ideas or reminders from this (which was last updated in December):
Before the Storm Strikes:
Winter storms and blizzards can cause loss of electricity, heat and telephone service and can trap you in your home for a few days. Have available:
Flashlight and extra batteries
Make sure each member of your household has a warm coat, gloves or mittens, hat and water resistant boots
Battery powered NOAA Weather Radio and portable radio to receive emergency information
Canned food and nonelectric can opener
Extra medicine and baby items
First aid supplies
Healing fuel – fuel carriers may not reach you for days after a severe winter storm
Back up heating source, such as fireplace, wood stove, space heater, etc. Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment
Sand to improve traction
Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water
Make a Family Communication Plan. Your family may not be together when the storm strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another and how you will get back together.