Wilton schools plan for snow days with remote learning

There will likely be fewer snow days for Wilton students this year due to the option of remote learning.

There will likely be fewer snow days for Wilton students this year due to the option of remote learning.

Bryan Haeffele / Hearst Connecticut Media

WILTON — With remote learning so prevalent, the idea of closing school for a snow day this winter might be seen as a moot point. It’s not, although there will likely be fewer of them than in a typical year.

Superintendent of Schools Kevin Smith sent a letter to the school community Monday morning outlining the district’s inclement weather policy which it may implement for this Thursday’s predicted snowstorm.

Smith reminded the community the state Board of Education is allowing districts to impose remote learning when the weather is bad to avoid closing schools and making up days at the end of the year. Wilton intends to take advantage of this opportunity, he said.

“The benefits of this decision include protecting continuity of learning and promoting predictability in the school calendar,” he said.

There may be situations that would force the closure of school, even on remote days, such as widespread power outages that would affect internet service.

“Since this is a new opportunity and weather conditions can vary even in a relatively small geographic area, our intention is to experiment with remote learning on an inclement weather day, gather feedback from students, teachers, and families, assess the effectiveness of the day and then adjust as necessary,” Smith said.

For weather-related remote days, the district will use its current shortened Wednesday schedule:

 Miller-Driscoll — 9:15 - 1:15.

 Cider Mill — 7:45 - 11:55 (optional Enrichment available in afternoon).

 Middlebrook — 8:20 - 12:30.

 Wilton High School — 8:20-12:30.

In making the decision to close school for weather conditions, Smith said safety of travel — cleared roadways — and the ability of maintenance staff to clear school driveways and parking lots are priorities.

In making the decision to close school, Smith said he begins at 4 a.m. by consulting police on road conditions and then conferences with area superintendents and a meteorologist on what is expected to happen within the following four to 12 hours.

Smith announces his decision by 5 a.m. via the SchoolMessenger notification system. It will also be posted on the district website and The Bulletin website.

Early dismissal times, if needed, are:

 Wilton High School — 10:30.

 Middlebrook — 10:30.

 Cider Mill — 11:30.

 Miller-Driscoll — 12:30.

Delayed openings may be one or two hours:

 Wilton High School — 9:20 or 10:20.

 Middlebrook — 9:20 or 10:20.

 Cider Mill — 8:40 or 9:40.

 Miller-Driscoll — 10:05 or 11:05.

According to the National Weather Service, snow is expected to start Wednesday night with as much as eight to 12 inches possible. Snow is expected to continue Thursday morning, tapering off to snow showers throughout the day.