Naugatuck officials have agreed to push the first day of school for borough students back until after Labor Day, as three borough schools still remain without power as of Wednesday evening.
Students in all of Naugatuck’s public and parochial schools will now report for their first day of classes on Tuesday, Sept. 6. There will be a professional development day for Naugatuck public school teachers on Thursday, Sept. 1.
St. Francis-St. Hedwig, which runs on the same bus schedule as the public schools, will also report for their first day of school on Tuesday. The K-3 and K-4 kindergarten orientation will also be held Tuesday, however the first day for those students will be Wednesday, said Principal John Salatto.
The news of the change broke late Wednesday as Connecticut Light & Power continues to restore power to Western and Hop Brook elementary schools, as well as Hillside Intermediate School. All three have lacked power since Tropical Storm Irene slammed the region Sunday.
The public school district cannot commence classes for all 11 schools until those three are back online, said Superintendent John Tindall-Gibson.
But Tindall-Gibson said he is not aware of any timetable in place as to when the schools will get power back. He said he hadn’t heard anything from CL&P specifically.
The power company has assured the public in multiple press releases that specific entities like hospitals, nursing homes and schools, were a priority first in the power restoration effort. As of Wednesday it still is dealing with some 300,000 outages throughout the state.
“It could be back on tonight for all we know,” said Board of Education Chairman David Heller about the three schools.
That, however, remains to be seen. CL&P crews were seen traveling around the Hillside Avenue area, restoring lines in that region on Wednesday. Western School, meanwhile, is on Pine Street, toward the end of Millville Avenue.
Naugatuck is not the only district to push back the start of school until after the September holiday. Numerous districts across the state — including nearby Oxford, Region 15, Region 14 and the Amity School District — are all starting school on Sept. 6 as well.
The end of school has now been pushed back from June 12 to June 15. An issue that arose this past school year regarded whether , rather than continue holding classes until the end of summer.
Ultimately, the Board of Education and push the last day of school to June 28.
But that won’t be the case this time, the superintendent indicated.
The district changed the policy this year and instituted a plan where, if there are more than five snow days, the February Vacation is eliminated, Tindall-Gibson said.
“So if we have two more snow days beyond these three we’ll take February break away,” he said.
So will the schools definitely have power by Tuesday? It’s not certain.
“We’re not being told when it’s going to be back,” Heller said. “Hopefully it’ll be back Tuesday, but I don’t have a crystal ball.”
Both Heller and Tindall-Gibson noted the district needs time before the first day of school to prepare for the students’ return. This includes getting the schools’ cafeterias stocked with food, setting up computer networks and having phone systems running.
Theoretically, they both noted, if power wasn’t back online by Monday evening then it’d be possible the district would push the start of school back again to the following Wednesday.
But, Tindall-Gibson said, “We’re full speed ahead for Tuesday.”