School district to add three-hour delay option

Photo of Brian Gioiele
Shelton school officials may now use a three-hour delay option when deciding on how to act on poor weather days.

Shelton school officials may now use a three-hour delay option when deciding on how to act on poor weather days.

Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut Media

Public school administrators now have another option when the weather makes for tough travel - a three-hour delay.

The Board of Education, at its meeting Wednesday, Dec. 18, approved school Superintendent Chris Clouet’s plan to add a three-hour delay to the options available when storms - such as the one that iced the region Monday night into Tuesday - hit the area. This option joins school closure and the two-hour delays to which parents have become accustomed.

“We are a big district,” said Clouet. “To have this option would be something that would give me more flexibility when making decisions regarding the weather and its impact on the schools.”

Clouet said other districts presently use the three-hour delay option. For Shelton, with all the parking lots, streets and sidewalks needed to be cleared, Clouet said this gives the district a chance to keep school open when a two-hour delay may fall just short timewise in completing the clearing.

“It could allow more time to get the clearing done,” said Clouet.

The district has five snow days already, with January and February — and with those months the larger threat of storms — looming.

Clouet said having a three-hour delay would not change how the district communicates with its staff and parents.

Clouet then detailed the steps he takes when poor weather impacts the area. First, Clouet said he contacts the city’s Bridges & Highway Department on “what they are seeing.” Clouet said he will receive an update on how municipal workers are able to keep streets, parking lots and sidewalks clear for the specific conditions.

Next, Clouet said he contacts the police department for updates on accidents and street conditions. This is followed by calls to the city-operated bus company and regional superintendents — specifically Trumbull, Monroe, Derby and Ansonia — to see how they plan to proceed.

“Once I have made these calls, a decision is made,” said Clouet, adding that if a decision to cancel or delay is made, Assistant Superintendent Ken Saranich and district Finance Director Rick Belden aid in making sure staff and parents receive appropriate communications.

Belden said the district also uses a weather notification service that will offer predictions hours prior to a storm hitting the area.