As residents await word on when Westfield public schools will re-open, Board of Education member Mitch Slater said he is open to taking questions from residents and invited the public to follow him on social media sites.
As of 9 a.m. Monday, Washington Elementary and Wilson Elementary School were still without power, according to Slater. The Board of Education building on Elm Street also has no power and the district's server is down so its website and email are not working.
Slater said, for the past three years, he and former member David Finn have been advocating for the school district to embrace social media and start its own Facebook page and Twitter feed to keep parents and students informed.
During Saturday evening's town-wide conference call, BOE president Rich Mattessich explained that not only did the schools need to have power before they could re-open but also the Board and schools superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan needed to determine whether or not students and staff could travel safely to school. Mattessich said if students could not get to or from school safely, they would not be penalized for their absence. Residents were also asked not to place debris in front of schools as it will interfere with pick-up and drop-off of students.
Slater said Mayor Andy Skibitsky made the call to close the schools today due to safety concerns.
A decision about tomorrow will be made by 8 p.m. tonight. Parents will be alerted via the Honeywell system.
Slater praised head of maintenance Mike Morris and his team for clearing the schools' grounds of debris.
"The schools look great," Slater said. "Mike Morris and his crew were on the scene within six hours of the storm ending. They've done a fantastic job. It's a safety issue now more than a power issue."
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