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Dear Families and Staff:

Weather conditions this morning caused slippery roads and vehicle accidents throughout the District, including the Patroon Island Bridge. The traffic accidents caused serious time delays for our buses. While all students arrived safely and there were no reported serious accidents or injuries, I acknowledge that these circumstances raised many concerns about the safety of our students, bus drivers, staff and parents.

Many parents and staff questioned why the District did not announce a delayed opening early in the morning. While it is always our intent to notify parents and staff of delays as early as possible, road conditions rapidly deteriorated when our buses were already on route to pick up and deliver our high school, and in some cases, middle school students. The fast changing weather conditions also complicated our normal assessment and communication processes.

Once a full assessment of road conditions and traffic congestion was made, I determined to delay the elementary school opening by one hour to provide more time for buses to pick up and deliver our middle school students, to finish our high school runs and to provide District grounds crews adequate time to safely ensure parking lots and school entrances were salted and sanded.

Please know that I take student, staff, and parent safety very seriously. I continuously assess the feedback we receive from the community and then review procedures with administration and staff to learn from situations like today and make necessary improvements to our procedures. I will be meeting with my staff today to discuss these procedures and any improvements that can be made going forward.

I thank you for your comments and concerns this morning and your continued support for our schools.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey P. Simons
Superintendent of Schools

View Letter from Superintendent