Metro Atlanta schools to close Friday for Braves’ parade

Credit: Hyosub Shin

Credit: Hyosub Shin

Many of the state’s largest school districts are closing Friday due to festivities for the Atlanta Braves.

Among the districts in the metro area not holding classes are: Atlanta Public Schools, City Schools of Decatur, Cobb County, Clayton County, DeKalb County, Douglas County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County and Marietta City Schools.

The team is celebrating a World Series win over the Houston Astros with a noon parade and other festivities that day.

But at least three area districts are not closing: Cherokee County, Fayette County and Henry County.

“The Atlanta Braves parade and celebratory events will occur in Cobb County during the day and this holiday will also keep anticipated high traffic, throughout Cobb County, as manageable as possible for everyone who lives in Cobb,” said a Wednesday news release from the Cobb County School District.

Friday night athletic events will remain as scheduled, the news release said.

Fulton County Schools said in a tweet that all schools and administrative offices will be closed. The district “joins the metro Atlanta region and fans everywhere in celebrating the World Champion Atlanta Braves,” the tweet said.

Fulton officials expect a large number of students and staff to miss school and work to attend the celebrations “which could lead to a disruption in learning on a broad scale,” said a message posted on the district’s website and tweeted by Superintendent Mike Looney.

A spokeswoman for the Marietta school system said the district is closing because it anticipates that many staff members who have children enrolled in neighboring districts will need to care for their children who will not be in school Friday.

Atlanta Public Schools cited logistical challenges posed by traffic, road closures and big crowds as the reason for making Friday a holiday.

In a statement issued to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the DeKalb County School District congratulated the team for its win.

“We look forward to joining all Braves fans in celebrating this historic victory!,” the statement said. “There will be no makeup day or remote learning/remote work expectations for students and employees.”

The parade is scheduled to start at noon Friday. It will begin at Peachtree Street and Marietta Street and go to Peachtree Street and 10th Street, then to Truist Park in Cobb County.

“It’s a metro Atlanta and Georgia event. We are proud to support,” Clayton County Public Schools Superintendent Morcease Beasley said on social media.

Late Wednesday, Gwinnett County Public Schools also announced that Friday would be a student holiday and schools would be closed. All staff will not report to work that day, according to a district news release. (Initially the district said 12-month employees would not have the day off. But later it said they would also be given the day off.)

“While we know this unplanned day off will be an inconvenience for some of our families, this decision was necessary to address the anticipated high absenteeism rates among students and staff,” the news release said.

On Thursday morning, City Schools of Decatur leaders notified parents that their children would have the day off Friday. The decision, however, was not made in celebration of the Braves. Rather it was the result of staffers who live in other counties taking the day off to be with their children, who suddenly were going to be at home.

“While we had hoped to stay open, we already see a significant impact on Friday operations due to the number of staff who need to be off work to address childcare issues due to other districts’ closures,” spokeswoman Courtney Burnett said. “Simply put, we do not have the available staff to address the disruption to school operations we anticipate tomorrow.”

The Cherokee County School District said Thursday that its schools would remain open on Friday. Students who attend the Braves’ parade and celebration will be counted as “unexcused but without academic penalty,” according to a statement on the district’s website.

“While our policies do not permit excused absences for such occasions, the designation of ‘unexcused but without academic penalty’ provides students the important opportunity to make up all missed work and tests next week,” the statement said.

Fayette County Public Schools is not planning to close, according to school board member Leonard Presberg.

Nor are schools in the Henry County district, according to spokesman J.D Hardin. Instead, schools will be celebrating “Braves Spirit Day.”

“Student absences on this day will be unexcused but without academic penalty,” said a statement on the district’s Twitter account.

J.D. Capelouto and Susan Hogan contributed to this report.

This story has been updated.