The news that Middletown Public Schools had decided to delay the first day of classes until at least Sept. 6 — five days after the scheduled start of Sept. 1 — reached students and parents late Tuesday via the Honeywell alert system.
Hurricane Irene, which hit the city late Saturday and into Sunday, knocked out as much as 47 percent of Middletown's CL&P customers. Middletown High School was used as an emergency shelter during the storm, and midday Tuesday it was reopened as a daytime shelter — for residents seeking a place to shower, eat lunch or dinner, pick up bottled water or just recharge their cell phone or laptop batteries.
The statement came at 4:30 p.m. from Superintendent of Schools Michael Frechette via email.
"Based on information we have received from various public safety officials and the utilities, the first day for students will be Sept. 6 at the earliest."
Reached by phone Tuesday morning, Frechette said, "what happens today will impact Thursday and Friday [opening Middletown Public Schools and Central Office]. I never take this decision lightly. There are a hundred different factors involved. We've spent the last couple days talking over different scenarios."
"I always take whether or not we have school keeping in mind the safety of students, teachers and staff."
Middletown Public Schools were closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday due to lack of power to over half the schools — the high school, Keigwin Middle, Lawrence, Spencer, Snow and Bielefield schools were without electricity. Woodrow Wilson Middle School regained power Monday.