WESTPORT, Conn. – Westport students will be in school one extra day thanks to Winter Storm Nemo. With Monday’s snow day, the last day of school will be June 21, if there are no more emergency closures.
“We’re hoping this is the last big storm, but you just never know,” Board of Education Chairwoman Elaine Whitney said Monday. “We do have a plan in place if needed, but right now, [June 21] will be the last day.”
In deciding how to make up the days missed following Hurricane Sandy, the board last December approved a plan that, among other changes, added three emergency cancellation days to the end of the school year to use if needed.
If the district has two more weather-related cancellations this year, the last day of school will be June 25.
Monday’s cancellation is the district’s sixth so far, but only the third day that needs to be made up. Schools were closed for an entire week due to Sandy. However, three days were covered by the three cancellation days originally built into the calendar, so only two days needed to be made up.
On Friday, Westport was one of two districts in the county that did not cancel school due to the impending snowstorm, and students were instead dismissed early. Some criticized Landon for that decision.
“Who does Elliott Landon think he is by not calling school off on Friday?” Tony Palmer wrote in a letter Monday to The Westport Daily Voice. “He sits home, looks out the window and calls for school to open not listening to all the weather reports. Then he calls for early dismissal, putting the buses and all of the children in danger because snow came on like gangbusters."
Landon backed his decision not to cancel school Friday, saying weather reports for that morning originally called for rain in Westport, followed by light snow in the afternoon.
“It wasn’t until the evening that blizzard-like conditions were expected,” Landon said Monday. “By about 7:30 a.m. it started snowing but by then it was too late [to close school] so we dismissed early. Thank goodness all the buses were able roll and all of our students and staff got home safely.”
Had Friday been a snow day instead of an early dismissal, the last day of school would have been pushed to June 24, leaving the district with only one more built-in emergency day for the rest of the winter.
Beginning next year, five snow days will be built into each school calendar.