Sussex County Delaware
Schools Failing to
Post Closings on Web
 
Sussex Beat, Jan. 3, 2002

NOTE: Sussex Beat is a log of news briefs and commentary by Eric Magill, publisher of Sussex County Online, with contributions from Sussex County Online users.

CURRENT SUSSEX BEAT:

Eric Magill, Sussex County Online

By ERIC MAGILL
SC Online
Publisher

School Closings ...

As much as the Delaware Department of Education has trumpeted its school closings web site as an alternative for school closing and delay information, you'd think schools across the state would actually make use of the system.

But with the season's first snowfall on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2002, with many schools in Sussex County closing or opening two hours late, a trip to the school closings site at 8 a.m. brought up a page that said simply, "There is no school closing information!"

No information was posted, in fact, until 9 a.m., when Delmar, Seaford and Sussex Tech finally announced their closings online.

As for the email notification service I subscribe to for my daughter's school, the first notice of any delay or cancellation didn't arrive until 9 a.m., either.

This isn't the first time this has happened. During the numerous fog delays in the fall, the school closings site rarely had up-to-date information.

Incredibly, despite the obvious, the Delaware Department of Education seems to be oblivious to the shortcomings of its system. In a statement to the Delaware State News, department spokesperson Ron Gough said of the system, "We think it's working great."

Well, what would you expect from the Department of Education, where rewarding mediocrity is apparently a hard habit to give up?

Frankly, if schools aren't going to use this tool, then Gov. Ruth Ann Minner can start her budget cutting process by eliminating the server that is supposed to be used to post this information.

Tools like the school closing web site must be reliable if parents are to be expected to use them consistently.

By not posting their closing and delay information, schools are rendering the system useless.


First Baby of 2002 ...

It appears that a Millsboro couple has had the first baby born in Sussex County in 2002.

Michael Isaac Bell was born to Michele and Michael Bell of Millsboro at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford at 12:27 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2002, several hours before the first baby was born at Beebe Medical Center in Lewes.

Michael Isaac will soon be joining four sisters anxiously awaiting his arrival at home.

The first baby born at Beebe was an as yet unnamed boy at 5:48 p.m. The son of Nancy Karina Sanchez and Jose Humberto Cortez of Georgetown, the baby boy weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces.

As of Wednesday morning, Jan. 2, Milford Memorial Hospital was still awaiting the birth of its first child of the New Year.

Smith Serviceperson of Year ...

Lewes Mayor George H.P. Smith was honored as the Sussex County Association of Towns' Public Service Person of the Year on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2002.

Smith, who has served on the Lewes council for 25 years and has been involved in public service organizations for 50 years, received the award from SCAT, as well as another award from Sussex County Council, during SCAT's monthly meeting at Sussex Pines Country Club in Georgetown.

During his career, Smith has served as president of SCAT and president of the Delaware League of Local Governments. The Delaware State Univesity graduate is also in the school's hall of fame.

"I've only been here for 25 years because I've had a very good town manager and secretaries that did all of the work that I was given credit for," said Smith. "When you have all of that, you can hang around a few years. If you don't, you have to get out."

Smith's name will also be engraved on a plaque in Sussex County Council chambers in Georgetown.

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