Three North Berkshire schools did the unfathomable on Monday -- canceled classes in August.
Gabriel Abbott Memorial School in Florida was set to start its first day of classes in the new school year Monday, while Berkshire Arts & Technology Charter Public School in Adams was to start its second week of school. Clarksburg Elementary School officials had planned on spending Monday getting ready for the first day of school today.
But Tropical Storm Irene's rain and wind, which subsequently created flooding, debris, property damage and hazardous road conditions, prompted each of these schools to cancel classes for one or more "storm days."
"We have a standard protocol for calling a snow day, but closing in August is a different decision-making process," said Julia Bowen, executive director of the BArT school. "It was a trickier situation because even on Sunday at 5 p.m., though it was still raining, we knew it was going to be beautiful out on Monday.
"As I was watching the news and saw the pictures online, I got the sense that roads were going to be potentially trickier to navigate, something that would not only impact students and families, but also faculty and our buses. I figured we were probably going to see low attendance, which is not as effective a school day," Bowen said.
Jon Lev, superintendent of the North Berkshire School Union, which includes Gabriel Abbott, Clarksburg and Savoy schools, rearranged the start of the school year.
Savoy will start classes today on a full-day schedule. Clarksburg will have teachers report today and the students will start school Wednesday with a full-day schedule. Gabriel Abbott won't start classes until Thursday.
"A number of changes, but [we're] trying to deal with the problems in each town and the towns where teachers live also. I hope this will work for everyone," Lev said.
Clarksburg Principal Linda Reardon said the damage to town roads was severe enough that the first day of school has been pushed back to Wednesday.
"Because Route 8 and Daniels Road are damaged, the buses are not able to get up there and turn around to get the kids," she said. "So we have to figure out different routes and times to get them. It's going to take some time to work out the logistics for different bus routes."
Transcript reporter Ryan Hutton contributed to this report.