Norwalk Superintendent Explains How School Closings Are Decided In Storms

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Norwalk Schools Superintendent Manuel Rivera discussed the many factors he must consider when it comes to calling for a snow day.
Norwalk Schools Superintendent Manuel Rivera discussed the many factors he must consider when it comes to calling for a snow day. Photo Credit: File

NORWALK, Conn. -- When winter weather hits the region, Norwalk Schools Superintendent Manuel Rivera must decide whether or not to keep schools open.

River recently broke down all the steps that go into making the decision to keep schools open or to shut them down. 

The first thing Rivera does is analyze all of the information available to him, including precipitation forecasts, what time storms will hit and how cold it could get. 

Rivera also speaks with the Department of Public Works to determine the conditions of the roads and if school buses will be able to operate safely. 

"I begin an analysis that considers all of the variables mentioned above, and I create different “what if” scenarios," Rivera said in his article. "What if the snowfall is greater than 2-4 inches; what assurance can we get from DPW?  What if the temperature is much colder than the predicted above-freezing temperature -- will the road treatments be sufficient? What if the timing is wrong, and the snowfall and icy conditions arrive during early morning commute or dismissal hours? What if the snow has stopped, roads are clear, but DPW needs more time to clear all of the school parking lots?"

Once he has all of the data, Rivera and the deputy superintendent come to a conclusion on whether or not to keep schools open. 

If Rivera decides to delay opening or close down altogether, his staff must work to notify local TV, radio, print and online media outlets; update the Norwalk Public Schools website and new Facebook page; and activate the automated School Messenger system.

Click here to read Rivera's full breakdown of the school closing system. 

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