Fairfield students might have a snow day this week

Siblings Anne, 6, and Ethan Arnett, 8, of Fairfield, enjoy a snow day off from school with a morning of sledding at Sturges Park in Fairfield, Conn. on Tuesday, February 12, 2019.

Siblings Anne, 6, and Ethan Arnett, 8, of Fairfield, enjoy a snow day off from school with a morning of sledding at Sturges Park in Fairfield, Conn. on Tuesday, February 12, 2019.

Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media

FAIRFIELD — School will be canceled Thursday if weather conditions are bad enough, school officials say.

“Given the unpredictability of power/internet outages in our area, it is unlikely that we would have advance notice of such events,” Superintendent Mike Cummings said in a message to families and staff. “Therefore, in the event of unsafe weather conditions on Thursday, December 17, school will be closed and we will not have remote instruction.”

In the Monday message, Cummings said he wanted to set expectations regarding snow days. He said the Connecticut State Department of Education has approved the option for districts to treat snow days during the this school year as either a remote learning day or a day to be made up later in the school year, as is done in a normal year.

“However, the guidelines go on to say ‘Consideration should be given to the number of students and faculty who may be under power or internet outage circumstances before declaring a remote learning day when closed for inclement weather, as it may be detrimental to the participant’s ability to successfully participate in these activities,”’ he said.

Cummings said the state has not provided guidance on what would happen if a remote learning day was called and then there were power outages after the instructional day had begun. He questioned whether the day would still count, adding it has contractual implications and saying further clarification is needed.

Given some of the forecast guidance, Cummings said, Friday could be a remote learning day if power issues are minimal, but clean-up takes longer than expected.

“For that reason, staff and students should leave school Tuesday (PK, 6-12) and Wednesday (K-5) with instructional materials for Friday,” he said. “It is unlikely, but this is 2020. If there is a delay on Friday, we would hold in-school classes for 6-12 and modify the day for PK-5. More information on Friday plans will come later in the week.”

Cummings noted that decisions are made by 5:30AM for either a two-hour delayed opening or closure. Parents and the media would be notified as soon as possible after that time. He advised parents make sure they were properly set up in Infinite Classroom to receive these notifications.

“So if there is a reason to close schools this week I hope you and your family can enjoy it,” he said. “We will have more information to help us plan for future events.”

joshua.labella@hearstmediact.com