Darien schools will be closed to students and staff beginning Thursday, March 12, to reopen Thursday, March 26.

The announcement was made at Tuesday night's Board of Education Meeting by Superintendent Dr. Alan Addley. Parents received an email following the announcement.

“You will receive additional communication after this evenings Board of Education meeting. You are receiving this information now to assist you in planning for tomorrow. Our apologies for this late notice,” the email said.

According to a letter sent to parents later on Tuesday evening, the closure “includes the cancellation of all academic, athletic, and extracurricular activities.”

“While no Darien resident has been diagnosed with the Coronavirus, in an abundance of caution, the District is being proactive in its response to close schools in order to prevent the potential spread of the virus,” Addley said.

Addley also provided an update on how the closure would affect the last day of school.

“Presently, with one snow day and ten days of closure due to the Coronavirus, the last day of school would be scheduled for June 30. As we learn more over the next several days, the Board of Education may be required to use some or all of the April break to make-up missed day,” he wrote.

Darien joins Wilton, Westport, Weston, New Canaan and Greenwich in closing due to the coronavirus. The district has been preparing for a possible closure and has held discussions on how to handle.

The full letter received Tuesday evening is below:

Dear Families and Staff,

Earlier this evening you received notification that the Darien Public Schools is closing for fourteen calendar days, beginning tomorrow, Thursday, March 12. The scheduled date of return to school is Thursday, March 26. We will communicate with you throughout the period of closure as we learn more information. The closure includes the cancellation of all academic, athletic, and extracurricular activities. District and school facilities may not be used for any event during the period of closure. All schools and facilities will be thoroughly deep cleaned while closed.

This decision to close schools was made late today in consultation with the First Selectman and town and school health officials. Today, the State Department of Health shared that the spread of the Coronavirus is not only imminent but is actively occurring across local communities. While no Darien resident has been diagnosed with the Coronavirus, in an abundance of caution, the District is being proactive in its response to close schools in order to prevent the potential spread of the virus.

Presently, with one snow day and ten days of closure due to the Coronavirus, the last day of school would be scheduled for June 30. As we learn more over the next several days, the Board of Education may be required to use some or all of the April break to make-up missed days. We will keep you apprised of how we intend to make up the days and reschedule meetings and activities.

Our dedicated and talented staff has worked tirelessly over the past weeks to create enrichment experiences that all students will be able to access while schools are closed. Resources are accessible for all students in both general and special education. You will receive a separate communication with instructions on how to access these materials, which will be available through our website or Google Classroom beginning on Monday March 13. These activities are completely voluntary and students are not required to participate. The activities are not intended to replace classroom instruction. Our goal is to offer opportunities for students to access enrichment, practice skills, and have structure to the day.

Schools will be open for students and staff tomorrow from 8:30am-11:00am. During this time, students in grades 3 and 4, who do not have a device at home, may sign-out a chromebook at the main office for use during this closure and other students may stop in briefly to pick up any items (i.e., Chromebooks and musical instruments) that they may have left behind.

We understand that school closure affects all families, and we are committed to addressing the needs of all our learners. Our administrators will reach out to individual families in the days ahead to explain the process we will use to provide services to their children once school reopens.

Tomorrow, after consultation with the Connecticut Commissioner of Education, the District will decide whether or not it meets the criteria to submit a waiver to have eLearning days count towards the 180 days of school. We will advise you of the decision.

We appreciate your patience and understanding during this difficult time. Take care of yourselves during this time and follow the health guidance and recommendations shared with you in previous communications. In particular, we ask parents and students to be mindful of the guidance to avoid activities involving large gatherings.

Thank you for your understanding and collaboration as we make decisions for the health and safety of our students. Together we will successfully navigate these turbulent and uncertain times. My apologies for the late notice.

Sincerely,

Alan Addley, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools