Greenwich Schools to Disperse CMS Students after Building Declared Unsafe for Human Occupancy

On Friday Greenwich Public Schools were closed due to dangerous weather conditions.

That announcement came before 6:00am.

Later in the day the district announced that Central Middle School was closed because the building was deemed unsafe.

Reactions on social media were swift.

The blame game began in earnest and we could and perhaps will write a story about who is to blame.

One parent on Facebook wrote, “My hope is that we don’t get so caught up in who and what is to blame versus figuring out a solution moving forward. Pointing fingers isn’t going to change what has happened at the school and when the time comes, hopefully we can have more people show up to vote and move people out that they believe are responsible.”

Talk eventually turned to guessing where the students would go to school on Monday.

Some guessed there would be a week off or a week or remote learning, followed by the previously scheduled February break to give the district time to sort out a solution.

Others guessed CMS students would be dispersed between Eastern and Western Middle Schools.

One person guessed students would be dispersed to Parkway, Cos Cob, Julian Curtiss and North Street.

Another person noted that Trinity Catholic School in Stamford, where the a good portion of the North Mianus School students were dispersed to this past fall, following the ceiling collapse a year ago at their school, was not an option because it is undergoing renovations.

Yet another person said dispersing students would be tricky because some teachers teach all three grades.

None of the guesses were right.

On Saturday around 8:00pm the district released a statement to families saying that while they’d received many requests that students pivot to remote learning, that would not be the case. Instead, they announced that on Monday, following a two-hour delay, CMS students would be dispersed to Cos Cob School, Eastern Middle School and Greenwich High School.

Dear Families and Staff of Central Middle School:

Thank you to all for your patience, understanding, and support during these challenging times.

While the engineering firm that we have hired continues to work diligently on temporary immediate implementations to allow a safe return back into Central Middle School, we have been working with all of our District administration to ensure your children have a minimal disruption in their education this week. 

As we continue to work on some details, the plan for this upcoming week, February 7-11, is to have students relocated by grade to the following sites within the District:

Sixth Grade – Cos Cob School (300 E Putnam Avenue)

Seventh Grade – Eastern Middle School (51 Hendrie Avenue)

Eighth Grade – Greenwich High School (10 Hillside Road)

On Monday, all three grades will have a two-hour delay in the morning to allow our teachers and staff to settle into their temporary spaces that include classrooms, cafeterias, gymnasiums, auditoriums, etc. Dismissal time will be unchanged, except that our eighth-grade students will dismiss at 2:15 PM the entire week to avoid the high school’s typical traffic patterns later in the afternoon. Food services for all of our students will remain uninterrupted.

We have heard from many families over the past 24 hours asking if remote learning is a possibility. We had made the request, but the State of Connecticut has not changed its stance that remote learning for any reason other than health-related quarantine is not an option for our students.

Administration is working with our transportation department and bus company to ensure pickup and dropoff will have minimal impact. We will update you tomorrow evening on those details.

We remain optimistic that the engineers’ solutions and safety precautions will allow the Town of Greenwich Division of Building Inspection to provide a safety clearance for everyone to return to the building following Winter Recess on Tuesday, February 22.

We will continue to communicate with the CMS community as quickly as possible to keep you informed of the progress.

Dr. Toni Jones, Superintendent of Schools

Thomas C. Healy, CMS Principal