DeKalb Schools to reopen four days after Irma forces closure

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DeKalb Schools to reopen four days after Irma forces closure

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DeKalb County School District Superintendent Steve Green, front, discusses a broken cable line at Southwest DeKalb High School in Decatur with other employees. (Marlon A. Walker / marlon.walker@ajc.com)

DeKalb County School District officials said Thursday afternoon that schools will finally reopen Friday after four days of closures due to Tropical Storm Irma and the resulting damage.

Thursday morning, the district had 11 schools without power. Just after 4 p.m., district officials said all schools were with power.

“While our status is not yet optimum, we are prepared to reopen schools safely and effectively,” Superintendent Steve Green said in the afternoon announcement.

Damage from Irma left many schools with damage and without power.

Green sang a hopeful tune Thursday morning while out surveying damage.

He jumped out a Ford Explorer at Southwest DeKalb High School, clad in a black Adidas track suit accented by a black T-shirt with “One DeKalb” in bright colors, pointing to a cable that snapped when a large tree fell on it.

It wasn’t the power, workers told him. It was a cable line, run by AT&T. Several other schools were unable to open due to downed power lines and fallen trees on roads that made traveling there impossible.

"We'll call the school down not only about the power, but we have details about roads obstructed, and power lines down,"he said. "It is a safety hazard that certainly needs to be addressed as quickly as possible."

The county was hit hard as tropical storm Irma marched north through Georgia, carrying high winds and heavy rain into the area. While other metro Atlanta school districts reopened this morning, Green said more work was needed to be done for DeKalb to follow suit.

"I've been out here for two days seeing where the hot spots are and all we have to deal with," he said. “Sure, we would like to be open, too. 

"But I'm willing to trade a day (off) in the name of safety."

Dekalb County declared a state of emergency after the storm left more than half its residents in the dark. DeKalb County officials said nearly 200 trees fell in the county, and more than 80 roads were blocked in various spots. 

That's making it impossible to get students to some schools, Green said. 

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