Superintendent explains method of canceling, delaying schools

On Tuesday morning when students headed back to school following their holiday break, some parents were upset to learn that their kids would be returning to city’s high school despite it not being completely heated.

According to Superintendent Dr. Chris Clouet, one of Shelton High School’s boilers “went off” late Monday night, which resulted in chilly temperatures inside parts of the school on Tuesday morning, Jan. 2.

The exact dimensions of the high school that were temporarily unheated were not disclosed and Headmaster at Shelton High School Dr. Beth Smith was unavailable for comment as of Tuesday afternoon, but Dr. Clouet said the school’s boiler was fixed as of Tuesday morning.

The Superintendent visited Shelton high for a tour on Tuesday and said his decision not to delay school or cancel was based on the information he received earlier that morning.

“If it had become clear to me that there would be no heat in the building and somehow the boilers were broken down and could not be turned back on, then, we would have made a different decision,” said Dr. Clouet. “When I went there myself, that wasn’t the case.”

Dr. Clouet said when there’s a weather related issue that causes the debate to delay/close school, he’s awake at 4:30 a.m. consulting with other districts, talking to the highway department, and the city’s police department.

“In this case I did not become aware of the situation until about 6 a.m. and at that point it’s a little too late to say, ‘now we’re going to delay.’ So, at that time I already had been made aware that the heat had been turned back on and that the building would be warming up, which it had.”

When Dr. Clouet visited the school Tuesday morning, he said the temperature “had gone up considerably,” but understands that the decision to keep a child in school is ultimately up to the parent.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Clouet said there was some spots in the building that were colder than others, and that people should use their common sense as a means of addressing the temporary issue.

“If a teacher feels he or she should move their class to the library media center or to the cafeteria after lunch is over, because it’s warmer than they certainly should do that,” said Clouet. “If a parent really feels that they should pick their child up, and some parents have done that, but not too many, then I respect that. Meanwhile, after I walked through the high school, some kids are still wearing shorts.”

Clouet continued.

“In regards to today, I would also hope that everyone is getting for a very cold and long winter. We should make sure that we have extra clothes in our cars and lockers in case we need something extra,” said Dr. Clouet.