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Westfield Public Schools Update 5:20 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5

The Westfield Public Schools will remain CLOSED ON TUESDAY, November 6, 2012.

A decision will be made regarding Wednesday, November 7, 2012 sessions no later than 8 p.m. Tuesday evening.

The following buildings remain without power: Washington Elementary; Wilson Elementary; Elm Street Administrative offices.

Jefferson Elementary (600 Boulevard) remains open as a warming center for those without heat. 

Schools were closed Monday, November 5, 2012, and will remain closed Tuesday, November 6, 2012, due to safety concerns for those travelling to and from the schools, given the number of power lines that remain down and the number of loose branches hanging over streets and sidewalks. The Board of Education will request a safety reassessment from Town safety officials later in the day on Tuesday, November 6, 2012, and that feedback will be taken into consideration by Superintendent Dolan, when she determines whether or not to open schools on Wednesday, November 7, 2012. 

When the safety evaluation warrants opening the schools, we will open those with power, and we will establish alternative plans in the event any schools remain without power at that time. 

Rich Mattessich, President, Westfield Board of Education

Brad Schaeffer November 06, 2012 at 01:15 PM
I am a tad curious why it is so dangerous to travel the streets of Westfield, what with hissing power lines thrashing about and tree limbs raining down like bombs, that the children cannot safely be transported to school...and YET, all the sports programs (including those directly affiliated with that same school district that finds the going too hazardous to re-open and which also require travelling those same gauntlet roads to and from the fields) are going full throttle? Am I the only one who sees an inconsistency here? Either it's too dangerous to travel to school and extra-curricular activities, period, or it's safe enough for ALL activities including school. I don't get it.
Nina Palius November 06, 2012 at 01:48 PM
I absolutely agee!! When there was still NO POWER in most of Westfield, soccer practice was on. While many streets around WHS and EIS were still at least partially impassable, and parts of town still without power, the marching band was practicing on Edison field. I was completely stunned! How is it possible for the coaches and staff associated with these BOE extra curriculars to even be permitted to conduct these activities while the BOE continues to deem it unsafe for our schools to reopen?? I don't get it either, Brad!
Elizabeth Alterman (Editor) November 06, 2012 at 01:51 PM
I was told the Town will be strictly enforcing this policy today and removing teams from fields. A source close to the BOE said coaches were told not to practice yet did anyway. I'm hoping to get clarification from Dr. Dolan and will post an update when I receive one. Thanks, Liz
Rich Mattessich November 06, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Thanks Brad. There is no inconsistency. School fields are closed. If school related activities occurred yesterday on the fields, they were not approved by the School Administration or The Board of Education. The message has been reiterated to coaches today and parents should not be sending their children to any such activities. To be clear there are NO events or activities permitted on school fields while the schools remain closed due to safety concerns. Rich Mattessich, President, Westfield Board of Education
Westfieldmom November 06, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Other districts have figured out safe ways to get their kids back into school, with or without power. If it's so dangerous, why was the mayor encouraging people to venture out to shop downtown, even before power was restored?? The Y is open and swim teams are practicing, soccer is practicing and Holy Trinity School is open. Parents are not keeping their kids cloistered in their houses protecting them from the dangers of the streets. They are taking them to their regular activities in an effort to return to a sense of normalcy (not to mention, to ease the boredom.) Movie theaters and local stores are full of Westfield kids. I've seen several groups of kids walking around neigborhoods and playing in the streets. Guess it's safer for the throngs of middle school kids to hang around downtown spending money than to sit in classrooms. Listen to the governor -- it's time to try to get back to a sense of normalcy, and that includes opening the schools.
anonymous November 07, 2012 at 10:50 PM
The issue is getting busing to/ from the school, food, and teachers into school buildings, not just children, which is why schools are not opened yet. Not to mention the traffic that will swarm the streets when school starts back in session. This is something that closed streets and detours cannot handle. Just because you feel that people can move around your town freely does not mean that getting to and from Westfield is an easy thing for what I have mentioned above.
Westfieldmom November 08, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Why are teachers exempt from getting to and from work when the rest of us are expected to do so???? I'm well aware of the traffic and commuting issues -- I am living them every day, and leave home earlier in order to get to work on time. Many people in the area have jobs that require them to be there, and therefore, they have faced longer than normal commutes, heavy traffic, crowded trains, etc. I certainly hope that's not the real reason for keeping schools closed for so long.
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