Snow forcing metro Atlanta schools to close

12:27 p.m Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 Atlanta Education News
HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
December 7, 2017 Atlanta - Ruby Wanlaan, 7, plays as a wintry mix of sleet and snow is falling in East Atlanta Village on Thursday, December 6, 2017. According to the latest forecast, there is a 60 percent chance of precipitation Friday, and the wintry mix could continue through the afternoon. "Accumulations (will be less than) 1 inch because it will be continuously melting" on contact, Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brad Nitz said Thursday morning. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Metro Atlanta school systems are calling it quits as the weather gets worse.

See the full list of closings here.

Paulding County was among the first to call it quits after starting, with dismissing elementary schools at 12:30 p.m. and other schools at 11:30 a.m. It is also canceling after school activities and Learning Bridge. All Saturday activities are canceled.

Cobb County was one of the first in the metro Atlanta core to call for closing high schools at 11:30 a.m., middle schools at 12:30 p.m. and elementary schools at 1:30 p.m.

Atlanta, Fulton, Gwinnett and DeKalb schools, along with Emory and Kennesaw State universities and the Atlanta University Center campuses, followed suit as the snow got thicker and began sticking.

Fulton and DeKalb Schools officials announced all students would be released by 2 p.m. Gwinnett officials said school would release an hour early. After-school activities were canceled as well.

Latest weather forecasts from Channel 2 Action News show the dividing line between wintry mix and only rain splitting the metro region north and south, with the areas around Atlanta and above the northern arc of I-285 getting the bad stuff.

The Decatur, Marietta and Cherokee County systems are calling off after-school activities.

Cherokee says: “In anticipation of this evening’s forecasted conditions, all CCSD extra-curricular activities are cancelled for today, Dec. 8, and Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. After School Program (ASP) at elementary schools will operate as usual today, but parents are encouraged to pick their children up as early as possible.”

The AJC will keep you up to date as the day continues.

So how do these school districts decide when to close or delay classes in the case of potentially bad weather?

In some cases, school districts have been criticized by some parents for not closing early enough, like the infamous Snow Jam of 2014, when some school buses were stuck on area roads for hours. Sometimes, they’re heckled for closing school when no bad weather comes. Sometimes, they’re taken to task for not closing at all.

Knowing how impactful their decisions may be, most school officials begin having planning meetings and discussions as soon as nasty forecasts come to light.

The first step, say officials, is to monitor forecasts from the National Weather Service and local newscasts.

The meetings by decision makers often continue up to the day or night of the event and continue into the early morning hours. Many send staff members out as the weather arrives to monitor road conditions first-hand.

They often also consult with local emergency management agencies, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, and the Georgia Department of Transportation.

But the final call in the school districts comes from the superintendent.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution websites and Channel 2 Action News will keep you updated.

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