Confusion over delay or early dismissal

There was a lot of confusion among parents this morning after Stamford Public Schools sent out an erroneous message, declaring there would be a delayed opening for the city’s schools, when in reality the district opted for a normal start time with an early dismissal.

“In an effort to expedite the delivery of our message, they inadvertently sent one that was in my draft file,” Stamford Public Schools Spokeswoman Sharon Beadle said during a phone conversation Friday morning. “It was just one of those days where everything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

After the wrong message was sent, Beadle said she “immediately sent out a clarifying voice message,” letting parents know schools would begin at their normal time, and operate under an early release schedule.

“The proper information had been posted on our Website at around 5:30 a.m. Winnie also Tweeted the proper information around the same time,” Beadle wrote in an email Friday morning.

But it takes a while for information to make the rounds to thousands of parents. One parent forwarded the second message to the Advocate, noting that he didn’t receive the message until 7:13 a.m. And he’s not the only one who didn’t get the proper information until way later than he should have. More than a dozen parents have chimed in on our Facebook page about the communication kerfuffle and its poor timing, including one woman named Beth St. James:

I get the call about early dismissal at 6:27. We leave for the bus at 6:25. We get up at 5:30. Even if the call did come at 6, it’s not really helpful. Then at 7:12, I get a call about the delayed opening–after the bus has come and gone. We declared a family snow day. Just not worth the risk.

And parents had to rely on the emails and phone calls coming through from Parent Link, since the district’s website went down due to the high traffic volume.

“There was like 16,000 hits in a short period of time, and it brought the website down,” Beadle explained Friday morning, noting that the district’s IT department is looking into the issue and assessing whether changes to the system need to be made.

We’re working on a story for Saturday’s paper about the confusion. Email maggie.gordon@scni.com or call Maggie at 203-964-2229 to weigh in an add your voice.

Maggie Gordon