Fairfield Ludlowe High School is closed today (Friday, Feb. 1) because of "significant" wind damage to a portion of the school's roof early Thursday.

In a letter to parents, Headmaster Greg Hatzis said winds during the overnight storm blew off a section of the rubber membrane on the roof above a main hallway in Warner House, allowing rain to enter the building and damage at least 10 of the 15 classrooms in that wing of the Unquowa Road building.

Hatzis said that over the course of Thursday morning, "the situation worsened quickly." By then, however, students were already on their way to the high school.

"We directed all students who had classes on the entire second floor to the gymnasium" while a damage assessment was conducted, Hatzis said.

At no time were any students or staff in the part of the building that was damaged, Hatzis said.

After officials determined they could not relocate all of the students in the 15 classrooms, school was dismissed at 10:15 a.m.

Contractors and the insurance company were called to the site, and a mitigation and remediation plan is being put together.

"We are also working closely with the town Building and Fire departments to ensure all areas are deemed safe to occupy the building again," Hatzis said.

A plan also is being developed to relocate the classrooms once the building is reopened.

The damage at Ludlowe High was described as "significant" by First Selectman Michael Tetreau, who said the condition was declared an emergency so that work could begin immediately on fixing the roof.

While he had not received any price estimates, Tetreau said it is expected the roof repairs will be costly.

In the wake of the storm, communications regarding schools early Thursday were complicated by the fact that the Education Department's central office on Kings Highway East lost power.

The town's alternative high school on Biro Street also was closed Thursday because of a power outage.