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School Canceled Until Sept. 6, Will Affect Schedule

Some corners of town report regaining power with more restoration work expected today but much of the town remains without electricity.

Six schools remain without power on Tuesday and restoration is not appearing likely anytime soon, which has prompted Superintendent of Schools Janet Robinson to cancel classes until after Labor Day.

"To enable families to leave the area and possibly stay with family members who have power, we have determined that it is in our best interest of the students that we designate Tuesday, September 6th as the first day of school," Robinson said. "All students and teachers will report back to school on September 6th."

Robinson said she had planned to make the decision on a day-to-day basis but after receiving half-dozen calls from parents wanting a more definitive decision, and officials telling her that restoration was likely going to take the rest of the week, she decided to linger no more.

"I can't start with no power in the schools," Robinson said.

Another factor was that work to prepare school buildings for students, such as bringing in food, couldn't begin until electricity was restored. In addition, with a list of hundreds of roads with some dangerous condition, such as downed trees or wires, travel was likely to be difficult even when power returns to the schools.

Now with four snow days to contend with even before classes begin, Robinson said she will recommend another look at the school year schedule.

"I think we need to take a look at February break," she said.

The good news was that so far, no school buildings were damaged as a result of the storm, Robinson said.

"The (new) middle school roof was a god-send," she said.

The first day of classes was to have been today and then initially pushed to Aug. 31 due to the widespread power outages in town. Robinson said that the situation was not looking significant better, prompting officials to push the start for another week.

Many facilities remain closed, including the parks in town, which lack electricity, officials said. Only the turf fields at Treadwell and Tilson are open to public use, other activities, such as the pool and bathroom at that park and Dickinson and beach at Eichler's Cove, remained close due to lack of power, officials said.

A few hundred Connecticut Light & Power customers in Newtown regained electricity as of early Tuesday morning, bringing the total outages to about 77-percent of the town as of about 8 a.m., Aug. 30.

Overnight some areas reportedly regained electricity, such as parts of Marlin Road, although other key areas, such as along Main and Church streets in the borough were still without power. The C.H. Booth Library and Senior Center and Children's Adventure Center were among places in town that remained closed for their second day.

Meanwhile, businesses with power reported brisk business, including the Hideaway Cafe, which also boasted wireless Internet access and opened at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday. The Shell gas station on South Main Street also was opened as of 8 a.m., although staff reported that the station was close to running out of gasoline, with only enough to last for a couple of more hours.

Stop & Shop supermarket also had full electricity while the Big Y and Caraluzzi's were operating on generator power.

Connecticut Light & Power , saying that full restoration might take until Sunday or longer. Town officials said that the effort to clear roads may take a full two days.

Reed Intermediate School, which also has full power, will open this morning for residents who need showers, starting at 9 a.m. and closing at 8 p.m., officials said. Only one shower is available and so residents should expect a wait, according to officials who asked for patience.

Masonicare at Newtown, formerly known as Ashlar, on Toddy Hill Road also is offering use of showers to town residents, officials said.

In addition, the Municipal Center is opened and there are conference rooms that are reserved for the purposes of allowing residents to recharge their cell phones and electronic devices but residents must stay with their devices.

Finally, the transfer station also is opened Tuesday to residents during its regular hours of 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Editor's note: This article will be updated as more information is needed. Email hoa@patch.com if you have questions you want tracked down, although keep in mind that no one is releasing information on when power will be restored.

Rob August 30, 2011 at 01:44 PM
Called CL&P this morning, no information for Newtown Main St. area... ridiculous, I have not seen one truck out .... there are down wires adnt trees all over... where are the crews!??
Hoa Nguyen August 30, 2011 at 01:53 PM
Hey Rob, trying to get a local contact from CL&P to get some answers. I did see crews on Oakview yesterday and someone said they spotted them on Toddy Hill Road late last night. More crews are coming into the state today, according to the utility. There's just a lot of damage across the entire state and there is a shortage of workers. Here's the latest from corporate CL&P: http://newtown.patch.com/articles/clp-flying-in-crews-in-to-help-with-restoration
Hoa Nguyen August 30, 2011 at 02:38 PM
Updated article to indicate that classes have been canceled until after Labor Day due to widespread outages. Six schools remain without power today, superintendent says.
Robert Dahm August 30, 2011 at 03:06 PM
Could the Patch post an updated list of streets (especially main routes) that have since been cleared??? Can the Newtown PD help with this ? Does anyone know if Hanover Rd is open yet?
Out Door John August 30, 2011 at 03:09 PM
Question, will the Super announce on Sept 6 that the last day of school in 2012 will be July 4? Or will she not know the policy?????
J. Griffin August 30, 2011 at 03:21 PM
Believe it or not the weather and c l and p's work schedules are completely out of the superintendents hands. The decision was made, we need to plan accordingly and hope all of Newtown and the area get back upl and running.
KCNewtowner August 30, 2011 at 03:34 PM
NOW would be a terrific time to get RID of February vacation!!!!!!!!!!! A long weekend would be fine. Four ‘snow’ days and the school year hasn’t started yet...augh…
Hoa Nguyen August 30, 2011 at 03:39 PM
OK all. Updated the article with information on the superintendent about what she will recommend in as far as making up the lost school days.
Hoa Nguyen August 30, 2011 at 03:43 PM
Been trying to get that list Robert but little success. One of the problems is that the list of streets with some dangerous condition on them is apparently hundreds of names long. Still trying to get a condensed list for you.
Karen August 30, 2011 at 04:30 PM
Hoa you're doing am awesome job keeping us informed! Thank you!
PLundquist August 30, 2011 at 04:32 PM
STRONGLY support eliminating February vacation!!
rocketeer928 August 30, 2011 at 04:37 PM
I support Newtowners getting a 5-day tax refund due to the delay.
Susan Joy August 30, 2011 at 05:09 PM
Schools in CT can not go beyond June 30th so other provisions need to be made. I also believe Newtown has more than the required 180 days built into the calendar if the winter ends up bad and more days off are accumulated.
Susan Joy August 30, 2011 at 05:14 PM
The 4 days out of school will be made up at sometime and salaries, loans, etc will still be paid out. I am not sure of your thinking on a 5 day tax refund for 4 days? Bills take no hurricane days.
W. Thompson August 30, 2011 at 08:51 PM
It probably will cost more for the town to clean up Mother Nature's mess than what they spend to run things normally - so why would we get a tax refund? Maybe a tax HIKE will be needed. And I support the elimination of weekends off and all vacations/breaks as well. Let's just go 180 days straight and get the kids out for summer break on Sunday, February 4th!
Karen Visca August 30, 2011 at 10:33 PM
I agree with you.
Tim Haas August 31, 2011 at 01:23 AM
What were those guys doing today at exit 10 with the signs for "Advanced Fusion Systems" stating we support insurance and tax fraud? They can't be serious.
Desiree Galassi August 31, 2011 at 01:47 AM
Whew! Not a moment too soon for the new middle school roof. As far as inconvenience, I'm counting blessings there, too. Having seen first hand video and photos from a dear friend who lives in Vermont I am reminded to be grateful for our temporary inconvenience. But I also have not forgotten the 6 foot mounds of snow on my 750 ft long driveway and being stranded in my home unable to get down to a road for two days. Emergency planning and stocking up on canned food, water and perhaps even a generator is becoming a dinner time conversation. It's time to dust off the Scout handbook and put those skills into action. Curious if the town has a general emergency response plan. If not, it would be a good idea.
K August 31, 2011 at 01:42 PM
There are some families that have already planned their family vacations for Febuary, plane tickets bought and paid for, hotels, car rentals and so on... I think there will be alot on kids missing from school, if they decide to take away FEB. vacation.. Mine will be.
rocketeer928 August 31, 2011 at 04:47 PM
I just want soem of my hard-earned, BOE-wasted money returned to me.
J. Griffin September 01, 2011 at 06:03 PM
For those who had the resources and foresight to book vacations 6 months aheAd, perhaps you could cancel your reservAtions. That may allow your students to mAkeup days in februAry instead of mid-June.
Jessica September 03, 2011 at 02:30 AM
I totally agree. We didn't need a full week to begin with. I hope that goes first before they tack on a week to Summer vacation.
Jessica September 03, 2011 at 02:35 AM
I'm betting you are the minority and not the majority.

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