School Closings, Delays and Early Dismissals


    How the decision is made to close, delay an opening, or early dismiss the schools in bad weather or emergencies and the process for communicating these decisions to the public.


    Naturally, the primary consideration in the decision to close or to delay the opening of school is the safety of the students. And, as the students in the schools range from 5 to 18 years of age, one must take into consideration the youngest pupil who may walk to school as well as the most capable of our driving teenagers.

    A second consideration is that many of our teachers and other staff members do not live in New Canaan and must travel substantial distances to reach our schools. Their safety while commuting is of real concern to us as well.

    In addition, the ability of the Public Works Department to plow all of the streets traveled by buses and children as well as the ability of our maintenance staff to clear each school site has to be factored into any decision regarding closings or delays. In some cases, public streets and/or school driveways are unable to be cleared until the following day. It is also important to remember that weather and street conditions can vary greatly within the boundaries of New Canaan.

    Closing School

    The actual process of making the decision to close school or to delay its opening begins with the constant monitoring of weather reports, usually beginning the night before. At 4:30 AM, the Police Department calls the superintendent to report on road conditions throughout town. The superintendent then checks with the Department of Public Works to determine its schedule for clearing the roads. Next, neighboring superintendents are called to ascertain road and weather conditions in his or her area. The decision to close or delay generally needs to be made by 6:00 AM.
    If schools are closed, the Superintendent notifies all families in the district by email and/or text, depending on the preferred method of delivery they chose during registration at the beginning of the school year. All district employees are also notified. A cancellation notice is simultaneously posted on the district website's homepage.

    If weather, road and parking lot conditions are such that safety is a problem, school will be cancelled and the radio and television stations listed in the right hand column are notified immediately to make that announcement public.

    Delayed Opening

    School opening may be delayed if that extra time would seem to offer either better road and parking conditions or a substantial improvement in weather. Different decisions for different schools are not possible because of the logistics of running the bus system over the contracted time.
    If there is a delayed opening, the Superintendent notifies all families in the district by email and/or text, depending on the preferred method of delivery they chose during registration at the beginning of the school year. All district employees are also notified. A delayed opening notice is simultaneously posted on the district website's homepage. Families should continue to monitor weather reports after a delay is announced.


    Closing, Following a Delayed Opening


    In a very rare event, when weather conditions change unexpectedly, what was originally intended to be a delay may need to be changed to a cancellation. In that circumstance, the Superintendent will notify all families in the district by phone, in addition to email and/or text. All district employees will be notified, and a cancellation notice will be simulaneously posted on the district website's homepage. Keep in mind that the decision is made on the best estimate of what will happen in the next four to twelve hours.

    Early Dismissal

    With so many single parents and two wage earner families, it is only with the greatest reluctance that children are sent home early because of weather conditions. However, in the event that such an early release is absolutely necessary, each family should have an emergency plan that their children thoroughly understand. Please review your family’s plan with your children and designated caretakers. Radio and TV stations, our website, the town website and are immediately notified of any change in status, so it is important to monitor one of the listed media stations if weather conditions deteriorate. Although the early dismissal times listed in the sidebar are generally the early dismissal times we use, there will be conditions under which it is best to dismiss earlier to allow transportation to be completed under better conditions. In that event times will be noted on the website and sent via BlackBoard Connect.
    Notes on Schedules
    Multiple scheduling options allow us to make better decisions in regard to student and staff safety. Our goal is to create as little disruption as possible to our established school calendar. We understand that a schedule change for a school day affects family schedules and may necessitate adjustments to childcare arrangements. When schedule changes are necessary, we try to provide parents and staff with as much advance notice as possible.

    When storms are predicted to begin mid-day, early dismissal is the preferred alternative to closing school for an entire day. The early dismissal schedule allows students and staff to be out of school and on their way home by 1:05.

    There may be times when a delayed opening is called, but due to unanticipated changes in weather and travel conditions the delay is changed to a closure. We encourage staff and families to continue to monitor local media and their communication devices so they will receive notification and be aware if the decision has changed. A second robo call will be made.

    A new study by Harvard Kennedy School assistant professor Joshua Goodman examines the Impact of Snow Days on Student Performance. Click here to read the article.

    How Parents Can Help

    On mornings when the weather is bad, but school is still held, please let your children ride the bus. First of all, the heavy school buses are the safest vehicles your children could be in. Secondly, if parents drive, the school driveways become clogged with cars, slowing the drop off process and creating hazards for children exiting buses. For the same reasons, we urge parents not to pick up students at school when an emergency dismissal is called. Please let your children ride the bus.

    Please listen to the radio and/or TV or check our status online, but do not call the schools, the Central Office, the Town Hall, the Police Department or the media. Lines need to be kept clear for emergency calls and for parent notification when necessary.

    Lastly, make sure your children understand what to do in the case of an early dismissal, when you might not be home.

Early Dismissals, Late Openings

    Early Dismissal Times
    NCHS 10:30 AM
    Saxe Gr. 7-8 10:30 AM
    Saxe Gr. 5-6 11:20 PM
    South 11:15 PM
    East and West 12:05 PM
    West Pre-K 11:15 PM

    Delayed Opening Times
    2 hour delay
    NCHS 9:30 AM
    Saxe Gr. 7-8 9:30 AM
    Saxe Gr. 5-6 10:20 AM
    South 10:15 AM
    East and West 11:05 AM

    Learn the status of school closings, delays or early dismissals

    Radio Stations
    WICC 60 AM
    WNLK 1350 AM
    WSTC 1400 AM
    WLNA 1420 AM
    WEFX 95.9 FM
    KOOL 96.7 FM
    WEZN/STAR 99.9 FM
    WHUD 100.7 FM
    WEBE 108 FM

    TV Networks
    NC Public Access Channel 79
    Cablevision | Norwalk Channel 12
    WFSB News 3 | Hartford Channel 3
    WTNH News 8 | New Haven Channel 8
    WVIT NBC 30 | Hartford Channel 30
    Websites Log on then click “School Cancellations” and find our listing under “New Canaan Public Schools.” Scroll down the menu on the left to “E-notifications” and click. Click on “Schools.” Complete the registration process by submitting your email address.You will receive a confirmation request within 72 hours. Reply to the request by clicking on the link and follow the directions to access your account and to identify New Canaan in the pull down menu. You must identify and choose New Canaan as the notification district. You will receive email notification of any change in the school schedule.

    Update parent contact information
    Email to update the contact information you submitted at the beginning of the school year.