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Letter: Amity Superintendents Issue “Weather Advisory”

Once again, we are facing the time of year when New England weather can be very unpredictable and severe.  Area superintendents of schools must ensure that each district meets the state mandated number of school days and number of instructional hours in a safe and secure manner.

The Bethany, Orange, Woodbridge, and Amity (BOWA) school districts will continue to participate in a regional school transportation collaborative.  This arrangement allows elementary schools to dismiss at similar times and the Orange and Bethany Middle Schools to open and dismiss at the same time in coordination with Amity Regional High School.

When one BOWA school district closes, delays the opening of school, or dismisses early due to inclement weather, all BOWA school districts will also close, delay, or dismiss early.  A delayed opening for elementary, middle, and high school is typically two (2) hours.  In the case of extreme weather conditions, the delayed opening time might change.  The BOWA superintendents try to make a decision to close or delay the opening of school by 5:30 a.m., based upon what is expected to happen in the following two to eight hours.  Notifications will be distributed by district automated messaging services (SwiftK12), radio, television, and designated Internet-based sites.  Stay tuned when a delay has been announced since it may turn into a cancellation if weather conditions do not improve.

Although early dismissals are avoided whenever possible, it may be occasionally necessary to dismiss school early due to the unexpected deterioration of weather conditions or in an individual school because of an emergency.  In these situations, an announcement will be issued by 10:30 a.m.  Weather-related early dismissal for middle school and high school students will be at 11:45 a.m.  Bethany and Woodbridge elementary school students will be dismissed at 1:10 p.m.  Orange elementary school students will be dismissed at 1:00 p.m., and the Orange kindergarten students will be dismissed at 12:50 p.m. and will go to their respective schools to take their neighborhood buses at 1:00 p.m.  In the case of more extreme weather conditions, early dismissal times may change.  Families should always refer to district notifications and websites, as well as local news reports for updated information on school delays, dismissals, and closures.

Families should have an emergency back-up plan in place in the event of an early dismissal.  Please make sure that children understand where they should go in the event of an early dismissal from school.  Child care arrangements at home or on the same bus route should be made in advance of the early dismissal day since it will be impossible for the school staff to personally contact each parent.  On days when the weather may be problematic, in addition to announcements on local radio and/or television stations, parents can expect notification from district automated messaging services.  As alternate drop-off and pick-up procedures vary from school to school, parents should follow the established procedure.

Unless otherwise indicated, when school is delayed, all morning activities and meetings are cancelled.  Additionally, unless otherwise indicated, when school is cancelled or dismissed early, all afternoon/evening activities and meetings are also cancelled.  The school buildings will be closed.

The decision to delay, close school, or dismiss early is often a difficult one.  During inclement weather when an administrative decision to open school has been made, this is not meant to preclude a family’s choice to keep their student(s) home.   Families are encouraged to exercise their own judgment in such cases.

Colleen Murray, Bethany Superintendent
Dr. Vince Scarpetti, Orange Superintendent
Robert Gilbert, Woodbridge Superintendent
Dr. Jennifer P. Byars, Amity Superintendent

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