Storm Hub: What’s Open & Closed, Snowfall Totals, Photos [UPDATING]

New Canaan Library and the public schools closed Thursday in anticipation of a winter storm that ended up dumping about five to nine inches of snow on the town overnight, according to the National Weather Service, with more to come in the morning. Public buildings including Town Hall, and some local businesses such as Bankwell and Ciel Eau Day Spa, also are closed Thursday. “Due to the inclement weather, all Town Buildings will be closed 12/17/20 except for Police, Fire, EMS and Public Works,” according to a bulletin on the town website’s calendar. “Town employees, who are able, will be working remotely and will be available via email and voicemail.” The Weather Service’s Winter Storm Warning as of about 5:30 a.m. Thursday called for six to 11 inches total.

Superintendent: COVID-19 Surge Could Lead to NCHS Returning to ‘Hybrid’ Learning Model

Though COVID-19 virus hasn’t spread among staff and students while they’re in New Canaan Public Schools buildings, a surge in new cases and transmission outside of school—such as through sports and social gatherings—could soon lead to a return to a “hybrid” model, where students are e-learning from home half of the week, according to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi. The district opened the school year Aug. 31 under that type of model, and carefully phased students back into full in-person learning by grades and levels. New Canaan like other towns is seeing significant community spread and “the indicators are trending, and accelerating, in the wrong direction,” Luizzi said in a lengthy email sent Wednesday to school families.  

“And if the trend continues, unfortunately, we should all expect changes in our schools, our communities, and our daily lives,” he said. “[I]f current trends continue, we may have to reduce population density by returning to hybrid learning,” Luizzi said in the email.

District Enrollment Projected To Decrease by 81 Students Next Year

Enrollment in New Canaan Public Schools is projected to decrease by 81 students next year, according to data released this week. The projected decline for the 2021-22 school year—from 4,176 to 4,095 students in kindergarten through twelfth grade—reflects decreases at all levels, according to Darlene Pianka, the district’s human resources director. The elementary schools are projected to see 34 fewer students overall next academic year, Pianka told members of the Board of Education during their regular meeting Monday. Citing projects from Marlborough, Mass.-based New England School Development Council or ‘NESDEC,’ she said Saxe Middle School is expected to decline by 15 students and New Canaan High School by 32. “Generally speaking, the trend that is indicated by our demographers is that we are in a period of stable but slightly decreasing enrollment in the middle and the elementary schools,” Pianka said during the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at NCHS as well as via videoconference. 

In a memo sent to the Board of Ed prior to her presentation, Pianka said, “If we look at projections a few years out we might describe our enrollment as on a slow steady decrease from 4,176 students this year, decreasing to 4,101 students in the 2022-23 school year, a projected decrease of 75 net students, followed by future decreases in enrollment.”

Current enrollment stands at 4,234 students including pre-K students and those placed out-of-district—up 10 from last year’s total, Pianka said.