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New Canaan Schools Reopen on 90-Minute Delay

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – School buses will hit the roads again Wednesday as schools reopen after a two-day closure while the town cleaned up from an early snowstorm.

New Canaan schools will open Wednesday morning on a 90-minute delay, town Emergency Management Director Michael Handler announced at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Schools were closed Monday and Tuesday because of massive power outages after the weekend snowstorm.

Although all roads are now passable, Handler said some potentially hazardous conditions may still exist. He’s asking parents to accompany their children to bus stops or drive them to school Wednesday. “Under no circumstances should anyone be walking through neighbors’ yards,” Handler said. “Parents and students should not be overly concerned about arriving on time as students will not be penalized for being late.” After-school activities will take place as usual, but parents are asked to pick their children up and not allow them to walk home.

“Please be patient" Wednesday, Handler said. “We are concerned with getting our children to school safely and not necessarily on time.”

Board of Education Chairman Nick Williams said the decision to reopen Wednesday was based on safety, not on trying to save a snow day. "The key concern is that they can go safely to and from school." He added that students might be safer in school than at home if they don't have electricity. "In a school, you have heat, food and access to showers," Williams said.

Handler also said students will not receive homework Wednesday or Thursday evening because of the challenges that many families are facing without electricity. As of 7 p.m. Tuesday, about 1,000 homes in town were still without power. Connecticut Light & Power estimates that 99 percent of New Canaan customers would have their power back by Friday and 100 percent by Saturday night.

New Canaan schools have used all six of its snow days this year. Classes were delayed for four days after much of the town lost power after Hurricane Irene hit two months ago. The Board of Education amended the school schedule last month to add more possible snow days. April 9, which had been a teacher training day, was made into a full school day. If two additional days are needed, the last day of classes will be June 22. That is the last possible day classes can be held because school cannot open after the third full week of June. The district may also gain a pair of days if it decides to reduce the school year to 180 days, the minimum allowed by state rules.

The only way school officials would explore taking days off the April spring break would be if more than five additional days were used.

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